Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Brokenness

Our Bible study on Hosea is going great. (By the way, our other class registrant was able to join the class after all, and God's mix of ladies in there is just beautiful.) Yesterday's discussion was on brokenness, specifically the pictures given to us in chapter two of Hosea to illustrate how God will often lead us into a wilderness experience of some kind to get us to realize our need for Him. It can be pretty painful. The things God describes sound pretty harsh (strip her, make her thirsty, build a wall against her, punish her, etc.), and it's easy to first think, "I don't want to be Gomer!" But we've all been Gomer. And as you continue reading the rest of that chapter, you quickly see that God's "breaking" of us is always and entirely done in the context of His perfect LOVE for us. Yes, we have issues. And those lead to bigger and bigger problems. Namely, distance from Him and an inability to fellowship with Him in an intimate way. Ultimately, it's destructive. But He loves us too much to leave us at the mercy of our own efforts and plans in escaping those problems. He has solutions! He has answers! He has the gospel! We just don't always see that until we're in that place of brokenness where it hits us that we've done all we can do and our ways are just not working out for us. We realize what we're doing wrong. And we grieve that. But we also see who He is, and we see that who He is will always be enough. If brokenness has its way fully in our lives, we will get to the place where we agree with God and we go with His way over our own. And it will be GOOD.

The most beautiful part, however, is that He doesn't stop with stopping us. He offers us something more. Something grand. Himself. Verse 14 of Hosea chapter two tells us that He leads us into brokenness so that He can speak tenderly to us. Tenderly. He's full of sweet encouragement for us. (By the way, this past summer, someone shared with me that there's not one example in all of Scripture of God speaking harshly at all to a woman. Anytime He corrected a woman's sin, it was done gently and tenderly. Interesting. I'd never heard that. While I haven't studied that or thought through it exhaustively, I have to say I can't think of one instance in Scripture where that's not true. Amazing.) He has life He wants to give. New life, better life. The things He withholds from us in the midst of brokenness are returned to us as the new, improved gifts of God. An exchange takes place. The idols removed and a love-relationship restored to what it has always been intended to be: an astounding commitment of love that God makes to us. Hosea 2:19 says, "I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy." What beautiful committed love. How often I've held other human beings to that standard all the while missing how the Lord has met that perfectly. He IS the standard of love. Restoration is possible. Restoration happens. But I have a part to play. When I'm broken, I need to be listening to Him. I need to listen for His loving direction and His words of encouragement. He has things to say. Am I listening? And then verse 15 reminds of the second part of really listening to Him: am I responding to what He's telling me? Do my actions and my responses tell Him that I really want to hear from Him? Or do I merely go through the motions of hearing Him and then do whatever it is I want?

The most interesting part of this study time on brokenness has been how it challenges me right now. I so want to initiate the brokenness on my own. Often. Regularly. I want to grow to the place where I am continually purging myself of ME. Emptying out everything in me that is not Him and then letting Him fill me with Him. I want to start out my days in brokenness. I want to keep the brokenness there so that He doesn't have to take me there. Obviously, it's always Him working anyway. But what I mean is that I want to know Him so intimately that I recognize sooner when there is a need for me to be broken for some reason and I let go of my rope a whole lot earlier. And I want that to be a habit.

6 comments:

Christa said...

I want to let go qicker also! Thanks for sharing your heart. I was excited to see this and hear a little about the study. I will try to call you soon to hear more!

Christa said...

That should say quicker...why don't I proof read before I publish my comments?

Kate said...

I liked the last part where you said, "Obviously, it's always Him working anyway. But what I mean is that I want to know Him so intimately that I recognize sooner when there is a need for me to be broken for some reason and I let go of my rope a whole lot earlier."

I learned a lot from our discussion yesterday. It's a newer concept for me to think me recognizing areas where I need to be broken and initiating that. That recently happened for me, and I have seen so much blessing come from it.

Amanda said...

Yea for Hosea. And I'm sure you have read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers which is another amazing story that illustrates brokeness then restoration. I'm almost thinking that it is based off of Hosea.

Hannah E. said...

Amanda, it is a retelling of Hosea! I do love that book.

Marci said...

You write so eloquently Hannah. I loved this post, even though I fight so hard against brokenness.

I try and try and try to keep the pieces all together when ultimately I should just let them all fall to the ground and admit that I am broken.

I love where you said, "I am constantly purging myself of ME!" I am stealing that quote- - -is that a Hannah original??

Thanks for the great post!