There’s something very humbling about counselling someone at the depths of their straits. Broken-hearted and broken-spirited they may be beyond consolation. Though this should not be their end, there’s a real sense of hopelessness:
“The human spirit will endure sickness;
but a broken spirit—who can bear.”
~Proverbs 18:14 (NRSV)
Because life can throw us into conundrums beyond sensible recognition, where we’re flummoxed for rationale of response, there must be a way to appropriately honour such brokenness of spirit. Because life is this way there must be a way of coping!
God is that way.
Only One Good Way To Honour A Broken Spirit
“The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
~Psalm 51:17 (NRSV)
The golden fix for the broken-hearted scenario is the consolation of God; a consolation unfathomable depths more meaningful than any human consolation.
As I write this I have in mind a certain person known to me, but personally unknown; one that grapples with the sense of life that proves senseless. They trusted yet their trust was dashed against the rocks. They may soon never trust again, if their solace comes from any other place than God.
If not God, then what? Denial? Despair?
A broken spirit is perhaps the more poignant portion, the gross overload, of a broken heart. For a time, perhaps even moments, during broken-heartedness, there’s a window of opportunity where God would speak with power; this is a majestic irony.
How could it be that in the worst experience of pain our opportunity at meeting the Divine, the rarest provision of holy Presence, is at its sharpest clarity? We may never know God this well again. The Lord will become more intimate than ever when we need him most.
Harnessing The Broken Moment
There’s no sadistic sense in all of this; it’s only therapeutic. Jesus came to save the sick, the downtrodden, the infirmed, the morally rejected; those hopeless for themselves but ripe for God. The end of one life generated the beginning of another. In recognition of the giving up of defence was an open heart, momentarily, for God. And God answered.
The broken-hearted and broken-spirited are in a unique position.
They may, indeed, grow to understand that the old life that they grieve the end of was inferior compared to the life that is coming. Their understanding is to be tipped upside down. Their beneficence is, possibly, in that, incomparable.
Later... there may be no desire to compare, just the longing to thank God for interceding, no matter how terrible the circumstance was.
God honours a broken spirit. There may be no other way to mend such a calamity. Intimately the Lord is known upon a broken heart; the spirit broken beyond its own repair. Wisdom commends us in these affairs: go to God! To the One who makes all things new.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.