“In our brokenness we come closer to God and through that brokenness God is able to reach others in theirs. We are instructed to give glory to God in whatever situation we find ourselves in for he works his plan through us. Hard because we often can’t see it because of our suffering, but we do see it in the end.”
— Vivienne Voysey
Faith is the answer to this conundrum—the conundrum of suffering; of enduring same. Then we might say, “What does this faith look like when it is impossible to get through the next hour?”
It’s a question that cannot be answered; only experienced, one survived moment at a time—through the courage of faith.
The conundrums of life which are maddening in the extremes, those which sometimes defy our rationality that God is reasonable and loving, meet with the conundrums of faith. Faith is something we cannot see or ever really fully define in tangible ways for the masses. Faith is only ever known to be true through experience.
Both suffering and faith are conundrums totally uncrackable without openness before God. And the paradox is, suffering tempts us ever more to run so far away from God.
In suffering, the thing we need most is often the thing we look for least: God.
In suffering, the thing we need to get through is often in the opposite direction to that which we are running: Faith.
To enter into faith and to rely on God requires us to accept our periodic brokenness.
When we accept and do not run, God can help. God can get us through. God is our only hope.
Understanding the Purpose in Brokenness
It’s hard to say this without sounding glib. But the truth must be told, again and again. We will all suffer and we will all be broken. Many are broken more than most.
Yet, our brokenness seems earth-shattering to us; it will tear us sinew from sinew in our souls. Such pain in brokenness always takes us too far and it doesn’t relent when we wish it to.
The surface texture of brokenness is much smoother than what is inside. Other people cannot possibly tell the pain we are going through, just as we cannot hope to know much conception of their experience. But we can be there for each other.
What brokenness shows us, when we suffer as Christ did, with a dignified courage that honours God always, is where our power’s at. No human power or authority gives us grace to cope with such hell.
Only God can give us that power.
When, in the midst of pain unrelenting and irrefutably noxious, we are called, somehow, to present faithfully. This will take all the resources we can muster, and more! This means we will need to rely on trusted others; mentors, loving family and friends, pastors, etc. We will need to be loved by submitting ourselves within fellowships that can hold us and contain us in our pain.
In all these ways in our pain—through faith, through drawing closer to God, being honest and courageously vulnerable in our brokenness, and submitting ourselves to loving fellowship—God comes nearer (though, in truth, God is ever proximal).
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.