Healing Through Brokenness

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:24

One of my favorite bits of Scripture has always been the words of Jesus from John 12:24. In that passage he shares a profound insight into the reality of spiritual regeneration - before something (or someone) can live, it first must die. In the passage he uses the example of a seed - right now my colorful patch of Zinnias are nearing the end of their lives for the summer, and soon will shrivel up and die. However, their death brings with it the possibility for new life, because as they dry up they leave behind lots and lots of seeds I can collect with my kids and then plant the next spring.

Fifteen years ago I knew that following Jesus meant surrendering my obstinate, stubborn attempts to be my own God and submit myself to him. Through repentance and faith the old Ryan died and a new creation emerged, and as I’ve been learning the past few weeks, that process of dying and transformation is far from over!

To live we must first die; to heal we must first be broken. That’s the message from my devotional this morning from Proverbs 31 Ministries titled “Healing Through Brokenness.” The author shares the story of her 2-year-old daughter breaking her arm - when the doctor took off the cast, she and her husband were certain the arm would be fragile, but in reality it was as strong as ever as she swung from the monkey bars on the playground. The author then goes on to share the’ experiences of being a foster and adoptive family, and how once again something that was painfully broken can in time be healed and healthy again.

The author of today’s devotional points our attention to that famous passage in Isaiah 53:5, writing:

Our key verse, Isaiah 53:5, reminds us that Jesus Christ knew brokenness firsthand. Scripture tells us He “was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Christ’s submission to becoming broken led to the healing of our wounds. Brokenness was not the end of the story for Jesus, and through Him, neither is it the end of our story!

I am acutely aware of how brokenness is woven into the story of my life, and how God has used that pain to help bless others and bring hope to those struggling with issues like sexual identity, addiction, and depression. It it tempting at times to want to hide behind the thin veneer of “everything is ok” and “I’ve got it all figured out in life,” but I realize that kind of testimony is a help to no one because it’s not true!!! I am as dependent today (and probably even more so) on Jesus as I was 15 years ago, and hope I am until the day I go to be with him.

I’ll leave you with these encouraging words from today’s devotional:

Through Jesus Christ, we can experience physical, emotional and spiritual healing. And though the pain may still be a part of our memory, Revelation 21:4 says that one day, “‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (NIV). A day is coming when we will be fully healed from our brokenness and pain will be wiped from our memory.

What a beautiful reminder that we should never be ashamed of our own brokenness and healing, because it is through that very brokenness and healing that we can encourage others.