“The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
~Psalm 51:17 (NRSV)
“There is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.”
~Leonard Cohen, Anthem
We are known as much for our fallibility as we are for the greatest of human achievements—no matter how proficient we ever get at living life, we’ll always be subject to God regarding the circumstances of life and how they play out. Proverbs 16 has much to say about that!
One thing we have little control over is the way we are built and the way life is designed.
The issue of conditionality regarding life is as much about biology as it is about circumstances; we may be one lump or one headache away from the worst news imaginable. And that’s only what could happen to us; we are possibly more hurt through what happens to us when other people we love suffer—as is the case with parents and grandparents who endure much additional indirect hardship.
The longer we live the more we realise how cracked life is.
Yet, if there were no imperfections there would be no striving for God; if there was no darkness there would be no need for the light; if there were no hopelessness, there would be little need for hope.
A Theology of Cracks
God avails to those least perfect of us the warm oil of power to transcend our vulnerability by simple acknowledgement: we are not there yet! The truth prevails upon us this awkwardly inconceivable power—in weakness there is inimitable strength.
This Lord of turning things upside down is doing so by favouring the humble and contrite. There is no need of perfection in an imperfect world. The humble will be exalted, but those who insist on exalting themselves will be humbled against their will (Matthew 23:12; Luke 14:11; Luke 18:14).
Yes, God wants cracks.
The living God wants us dependent to the point of obedience—for our very own good; not to break us, but to infirm us enough that we may follow the right way. Disobedience and unfaithfulness make no sense in a life implicit of love. Still, there is room for wayward imperfection. Praise God for such grace!
There is little point in pretending we have it all together, but there is no excuse in settling for less than our best. We may be wonderfully and fearfully made; we are just as much delightfully cracked and wonderfully broken. Only when we celebrate this fact are we ready for communion with God.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.