After watching the movie Unbroken, my husband and I sat in silence. Oh—what Louis Zamperini endured, what he witnessed, what he experienced, what he forgave. How could he possibly be unbroken? So much was shattered.
The opposite of broken is, of course, unbroken. Zamperini became unbroken in this traumatic life experience because He chose to be broken elsewhere. He took his brokenness to the Lord and allowed the only true Mender to wash over him and heal him. To make him unbroken.
When we allow ourselves to be broken before Christ, we are inviting healing that truly mends us. His mending is beyond what appears fixable and treatable:
“For thus says the LORD: Your hurt is incurable, and your wound is grievous. There is none to uphold your cause, no medicine for your wound, no healing for you.” (Jer. 30:12, ESV)
But there is hope. Such hope.
“For I will restore health to you and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord. “ (Jer. 30:17, ESV)
I was 19 and invincible. I was taking my college opportunities by the bullhorns, insistent to experience all this phase in life had to offer. A 4.0 GPA seemed too safe. A belly-button piercing and a trimester away to Mexico to truly immerse myself in the Spanish language and culture seemed like choices that would push me outside my comfort zone and open up my wings to a full soar. I felt I was finally embracing this season of life. Unfortunately, my walk with the Lord was weak, at best. It turns out, I left Him behind when I packed my belongings to head off to the University of Minnesota. He was a part of my life back in my parents’ home because it was a strong part of our family, however, He wasn’t a part of my life. He wasn’t real to me. YET.
Off to Mexico I went, excited to unwrap all the adventures that awaited me. My abroad experience ended abruptly, one month short, to be exact, when my parents received a phone call from me with news no parent wants to hear. After a few poor choices on my end, I found myself victimized; a bruised outside and a shattered inside. The pain and fear endured in these moments of my life are too much to discuss in this post, however, there was not doubt, I was broken. My “hurt was incurable and my wounds, grievous, no medicine for my wound, no healing to be seen.” The wounds were severe and deep. I was broken.
My parents were quick to seek treatment for my wounds- both inside and out. A doctor visit and counseling were first on the list. And prayer—a lot of prayer for my brokenness. I was (and remain) so thankful for my parents who were (and are) willing to go to bat for me and sought to help me heal in whatever ways possible in this time of complete trauma and despair.
In this extremely dark time, they gave me such a beautiful picture of who our Father in heaven is. They came to my rescue; within moments of my phone call, they were making plans to come quickly so that they could be with me. They came ready to meet me exactly in the state I was: broken. They came to pull me up out of the darkness and bring me home. But our Heavenly Father does what no one else can do: He binds up our wounds and restores us. He mends.
Several years ago, our family read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo together. In this story, Edward Tulane, a china rabbit, is passed along a series of hands and learns about love on his journey. At one point in the story, his head becomes shattered. When brought to the best doll mender around, the price for his doll’s repairs are too steep and the young boy (owner of Tulane) who is unable to afford the repairs is given two choices: To find a less expensive doll mender who will not be able to do as fine of a job or to simply hand this china rabbit over to the doll mender to repair and keep. He chooses to release his china doll so that Edward Tulane can experience the best mending possible and be restored to his original beauty. His journey has left him quite tattered beyond his shattered head.
This is such a great visual of ourselves (of me). Tulane became unbroken. His breaks were still visible after his repair, but he was put back together, perfectly.
The price for this was quite steep. His beloved owner had to give him up. Does that ring a bell? God had to give up His son so that we could be mended and restored; made perfect. All we have to do is accept this gift of being restored and made new. All for the sake of love. Amazing.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30, ESV)
When we go to our Heavenly Father, broken and shattered, He binds us together (Zeph. 3:17):
– He rejoices over us with gladness (even when we’re a mess, full of grief).
– He quiets us with His love (even when we are loud with anger).
– He exhults over us with loud singing (even when we don’t see ourselves as worthy).
And He ‘unbreaks” us, no matter how broken we are. (Isaiah 30:26, ESV)
In this fallen world, we will face experiences that will threaten to shatter us. We will also encounter moments that may not shatter us, but will certainly ensue a hairline fracture. Even the slightest crack will wreak havoc. We’ve all seen that cracks spread if they are not dealt with. Whatever the break, if we allow the Lord to take our brokenness and mend it with His perfect hands and love, then we can be unbroken. Why? Because our Creator is an expert at taking our mess and turning it into something beautiful.
For Louis Z., his mending allowed for forgiveness and a life committed to bringing God glory. He became an evangelist. For me, my mending has allowed for forgiveness too. Although the cracks of my porcelain doll figure may show, I am whole again. And those cracks serve to bring God glory. I am unbroken.
Truth: I am unbroken
Left to ourselves, we are porcelain: extremely delicate and susceptible to chips and cracks that will leave us forever broken. But when we call upon the Lord to be our Mender, no matter what cracks and breaks come, we can bring them to Him and allow Him to fix us in His beautiful way so that we can showcase our mended figures to others who need this perfect mending too. Nothing is too broken for him. We can all be Unbroken if we allow Him to mend us.
Psalm 30, ESV
I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up
and have not let my foes rejoice over
O LORD my God, I cried to you for help,
And you have healed me.
Oh LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
You restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints,
And give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment,
And his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
But joy comes with the morning.
Joy does come in the morning, sweet sister, after the Lord has put us back together. Let Him get to work on your cracks!