Why God Allows us to go Through Hard Times
Author: Charles Stanley
Why I picked up this book:
I was so blessed by this book when I read it several years ago. As I have been organizing my office over the past several weeks, I thought it an appropriate time to revisit it. In this season of Advent, we wait for God and are reminded of our brokenness and desperate need for him.
Who Should Read The Blessings of Brokenness:
This book will strengthen, encourage, and bless anyone who is going through a difficult time, find themselves in a valley, is weak, weary, or suffering.
What’s in Store for You:
“Brokenness is often accompanied by emptiness—a void that cannot be filled, a sorrow that cannot be comforted, a wound for which there is no balm (9).” We suffer in this world because of its corruption, lack of knowing ourselves, or the gravity of our own sin. So God often takes us on a path of brokenness to remove the blinders from our eyes, and help us see more clearly. Through suffering, we become more like Christ, and the objects of our affection shift to pursue the purpose and work for which we have been called children of God.
Suffering or brokenness is not an indicator that God is mad at us. I appreciate Dr. Stanley presenting a distinction between chastisement and punishment. “Chastisement is God’s method of disciplining the believer. God’s purpose is to lead a believer to confront, remove, or change those habits, attitudes, and beliefs that keep the believer from growing into the full stature of Christ’s likeness. Chastisement is a training tool that God uses in making us whole and spiritually mature.” The Bible gives us a picture of this loving action as God being a good father who cares enough to correct his children. It also notes that no loving father allows their children to become wayward and continue on a path leading them in the wrong direction. On the other hand, “punishment flows from God’s wrath. The end result is eradication, elimination, and total estrangement from God….Chastisement flows from God’s love. The end result is change, growth, and development.” So chastisement is for the believer. Punishment is for the unrepentant nonbeliever.
God also allows brokenness in our lives to position us to die—not a physical death of course, but rather a spiritual one. “Before any of us can fully live as God has created us to live, we first must die to our desire to control our own lives or to live life according to our plan and will.” God calls us out of a life of striving, self-centeredness, and a false sense of control, and into a life of humble surrender to his will for our lives.
This death of our old self, and the birth of our new lives in Christ is process of spiritual maturity. Not only does God use brokenness to shape our being, he also uses it to prepare us for works of service or supernatural ministry. For this work, we need to trust God like never before.
My personal take-aways:
While reading, I was reminded that “the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise (Ps 51:17).” Contrite means having a meek or humble attitude. This is the posture of anyone who shows grief or sorrow over their own sin, “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation (2 Cor 7:10).” Humility is what God wants from us.
Our pride is what we offer up to God. We cannot lead our own lives, and allow God to lead as the same time. We can’t hold the reigns in our own lives, and trust God to lead and direct our paths. Brokenness puts us in a place of humble surrender. For the sake of true life and survival, we must let go! “Why are we afraid to let go? Because we don’t want to lose control. That’s pride in its rawest form.” Brokenness destroys our pride, which God hates.
God wants us to become whole. Ultimately, there are many things in our hearts and of this world that keep us from living whole lives, and our pride is only one of them. Our lack of trust in God, greed, anger, hatred, unforgiveness, bitterness, and fear must all be surrendered to God so he can do heart surgery on us. The faith journey towards wholeness takes time, and God is often patient with us (though the process does not often feel good at the moment).
In brokenness: “God’s purpose is not to break our spirits, but rather, to break the stubbornness of our wills.” Charles Stanley
“A wise person faces the reality that God both deserves and demands the right to everything that we are.” Charles Stanley
“God will target the areas that keep us from trusting him completely and yielding to him fully.” Charles Stanley
“Brokenness is the condition whereby our will is brought into full submission to his will so that when he speaks, we put up no argument, make no rationalization, offer no excuses, and register no blame, but instead, instantly obey the leading of the Holy Spirit as he guides us.”
“In fashioning and shaping our lives, God intends to bring every area of our lives into submission to his will. Toward the accomplishment of this purpose, God removes from us every hindrance that keeps us from being fully surrendered to his will and that prevents us from full trusting him.”
Have you been blessed by brokenness?
© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2015