In church last Sunday, we started our worship time with a song that was new to me. It was Matt Redman’s “Gracefully Broken.” The entire song is incredibly powerful, but the chorus has been reverberating through my mind and heart for days.
It says: “Here I am, God. Arms wide open. Pouring out my life. Gracefully broken.”
That concept of being “gracefully broken” is highlighted in several Biblical stories. In the Old Testament, Jacob was gracefully broken the night before he met his long lost brother and had to account for his very poor behavior. It’s the story where Jacob wrestles with God and in the end; his body is “touched” by Him. Jacob got through his encounter with his brother, but he limped for the rest of his life. He was gracefully broken.
In the New Testament, we see the woman caught in the very act of adultery in John 8. She was humiliated in front of the men of the town. First, Jesus dealt with the guys’ duplicitous attitudes and then turned to her. She was no doubt broken and ashamed. Jesus asks if there is anyone left to accuse her. She replies “No one.” And then He says, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and leave your life of sin.” She leaves, gracefully broken.
And in John 4, Jesus engages a “woman at the well.” He used some thoughtful questions to penetrate her shallow understanding of spiritual matters. And He confronted her about her various marriages and the fact that she was just living with some man at the time.
She is astonished at His insight into her life. And after a further conversation about where and how to worship God, she runs into town (the same town that ostracized her) and announces, “Come see a man who told me everything I did. Could this be the Messiah?”
Through the course of that intense personal conversation with Jesus, she too was gracefully broken.
Jesus knew Jacob was a conniver and needed an attitude adjustment. He used the lingering limp to make His point. The woman caught in adultery needed a break in the pattern of her sinful life. Jesus stood up for her even as He broke that pattern and sent her on her way “to sin no more.”
The woman at the well needed someone to love her, really love her. So Jesus presented Himself and changed the course of her life. She was gracefully broken.
This week, consider the penetrating truth that God is well aware of all our stories too. He knows our faults. He knows what it will take to adjust our attitudes, redirect our passions and cause repentance over sin. And He is lovingly prepared to gracefully break us as well.
Can we pray: “Here I am, God. Arms wide open. Pouring out my life. Gracefully broken”?