“God Loves the Broken Shells”
“God Loves the Broken Shells”
“I will bind up that which was broken” (Ezekiel 34:16)
A Pastor’s life can be extraordinarily busy with all the continual demands and countless requirements. Sometimes, it’s very hard for pastors to balance overwhelming ministry activities with home and family. Being a single father requires more of an effort to keep that balance in tact. So every once in a while, I take a day off from work and I keep my son, David, home from his work so we can be together for a day… a “Dad/Dave Day”. We usually spend the day together often taking a ride to the Jersey Shore where the roots of our family began. As many of you know, David has a form of Autism but is very high functioning and extremely social. He is the center of wherever he goes and I simply blend into the scenery.
The other day, we went to the Shore. We walked the Boardwalk, had pizza and ice cream, Dave won a stuffed animal, sat on the beach in our beach chairs, bought matching hats to protect us from the sun and walked on the sand seemingly for miles. As we walked, we picked up shells. Having about a million shells at home, we walked and picked more. Dave and I both had handfuls of shells. Mine were perfectly shaped, clean and picturesque. However, most of Dave’s shells were broken and in pieces. I suggested that Dave throw away the broken shells and just keep the intact shells. Dave said no. As I continued to encourage him to drop the broken shells and keep the good ones, he kept on picking up more pieces of shells. I asked him why he picked up the broken ones and he so emphatically replied, “I love the broken shells”. Boy, that hit me… stopped me in my tracks! My mind was flooded with the thought that God loves broken things, broken people, broken dreams, broken lives and broken hearts!
We are all broken in one way or another. Some of our bodies are broken by disease, illness, abuse and age. Some of our minds are broken through stress, fear and worry, hopelessness, despair, destructive thinking, even the many forms of mental illness and psychological problems. Some of our lives are broken by divorce and separation, poverty and economic crises and shattered dreams. And some hearts are broken by sorrow and pain, loss, disappointment, betrayal, lack of love, rejection and insincerity. Brokenness literally means to be shattered, damaged by breaking, fractured and crushed, to be made weak or infirmed. Brokenness knows no bounds. Brokenness can be debilitating… if not for the love, healing and compassion of the Lord Jesus Christ! He loves the broken shells!
He knows how broken we can become. Proverbs 17:22 says that a broken spirit dries the bones. Proverbs 15:13 says that by the sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. But thank the Lord that He does not leave us there. He sees our brokenness, feels as we do, and intervenes in our brokenness. I truly believe that when Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus, he did so because He felt the pain, sorrow and loss of those He loved. He mourned and grieved with them. But just as He wept, He also brought the power and presence of God into the situation… paving the road for a miracle. He brought hope and love to a situation that otherwise had no alternative. God’s Word states that, “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart” (Psalm 34:18). God reassures us that we are not alone in our brokenness and in His nearness is our healing and hope. Psalm 147:3 also says that, “He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds”. He puts a healing salve on our wounds that brokenness causes… a salve of compassion, grace, mercy and the power of His Word. Jesus stood up in the synagogue in Nazareth and proclaimed that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him and that He was anointed to specifically, “heal the brokenhearted”. (Luke 4:18)
Jesus knew all about brokenness. He was no stranger to it. “This is my body which is broken… for you”. (1 Corinthians 11:24) He understands and He is with you.
Today, if brokenness is no stranger to you, spend time in His presence. Get alone with Him. Shut out the noise of the world and shut the door to your secret closet… wherever that may be. Get in the Word! Get a Bible Promise Book and read and re-read the Scriptures on healing, comfort and peace, restoration… and of who Jesus is! He “IS” our peace, our righteousness, our companion, our security, our sufficiency, our fulfillment, our healer, our hope and our joy… our everything! And He is the One who specializes in fixing broken things… you and me. Let Him put you back together starting today! The Holy Spirit will do it.
When I hung up Dave’s jacket when we got home, I noticed another shell in his jacket pocket… and yes… it was broken. It was special to Dave, and now special to me. Dave taught me about those broken shells… of which I am one.
I didn’t throw that shell away. It’s on the shelf with all the other shells… and boy… is it beautiful!