One of my favorite quotes is “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in” – Leonard Cohen, Selected Poems, 1956-1968 .
How true is that? We’re all broken people. In one way or another we need to be fixed and only God can do that. Life has a way of breaking you down then building you up. It’s a roller coaster and each of us is on the upside or downside of some hard learned lesson. Whether it’s circumstances beyond our control or some difficulty we’ve brought on ourselves, we come to a point of rock bottom.
No one on Earth can help us. No words can comfort us. Nothing satisfies us. It’s just you and the fragments of yourself or who you thought you were. Everyone experiences this at some point and more than once if you’re diligent about growing as a person. It’s so essential.
It is in the pits of this journey that we find out who God is and who we are in Him. It is in our most destitute and desperate moments that we have no other choice but to rely on our Creator. When we are stripped of everything we thought was real, we can come to terms with what is actually real. It is only in being made aware of our brokenness that we know that we need to be put back together.
What I find comforting is that as I look at my own life and struggles I can see God in all things – good and bad. That’s the true beauty of it! When you can be in the midst of the deepest pain of your existence and look up long enough to see Jesus was there the whole time. How amazing is that?! The only way we can recognize the light is if we’ve become acquainted with the darkness. Otherwise, how will we know the difference?
“…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair…” Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)
I’m not saying I’ve got this life thing all figured out. No one does. I’m convinced we’re all making it up as we go. Similar to what Mr. Cohen so wonderfully wrote, when we’re cracked…or broken, God’s light can get in us. That’s the only way we get repaired. The funny thing about it is that everyone is damaged in one way or another whether they realize it or not. Even if you know that you’re a mess in on area of life, guaranteed you’ll stumble upon a whole other area of issues that you didn’t know you had eventually. If you live long enough the process will be repeated though it may present itself a little differently each time.
When you can look at your inadequacy and see God working inside you and on your behalf, it is a blessing. Seeing beyond your pain is a gift. Like putting a puzzle together, you can’t grasp the big picture in one piece. Sometimes that one fragment doesn’t make sense and the image on it is unrecognizable or downright ugly. But when you connect it with the adjoining pieces it starts to reveal itself and they all come together to create a beautiful image.
Like someone creating a work of art. The beginning of the painting may just look like blobs of color on a canvas. Random and messy. The eye can’t always interpret those initial brushstrokes, but they are needed for the completion of the masterpiece. I think God is that way with us. Taking our messes, fragments, pieces – our brokenness – and makes us into something beautiful.