The prayer list at church seems to get bigger and bigger every week. And so many of these people are near and dear to my heart. They're folks who are suffering, sick or in need. They're not just names on a piece of paper, they're real people and they're broken.
So what do you do when life falls apart? When the illusion of security and wellness slips away and you're left in the pit of despair. What do you do when your life partner is suddenly gone and you're alone, or your only child is sick with cancer, or the family patriarch is healthy yesterday and in the hospital today. What do you do when you can see the pieces of your life lying shattered in disarray around you?
There are several options.
You can try to pick up the pieces yourself, but like a LEGO creation that has come crashing to the floor, there are just too many small parts that slip through your fingers. Overwhelmed is an understatement.
You can rely on other people to pick up the pieces. The problem is that they have their own ideas of how everything should fit back together. You're grateful for the help, but something is just not right. A piece is missing, or put in the wrong place, or the pieces have been put back too quickly and it's not quite stable.
Or you can ignore the mess that your life has become; pretend that the shards are not lying all around you and just go on. But this is so not healthy. It's a lie. Pretending the glass isn't broken won't keep the water from seeping out.
|When you're shattered, God hasn't left.|
He's just getting the broom
As someone who has tried all of these options, I believe there's a better way. God is the only one who can pick up the pieces and make a creation that is better and stronger than before. In the dead of night when the silence of the house is deafening and the loneliness is stifling, He's there. You may not feel Him, or sense Him, or recognize His presence, but He's there. Deuteronomy 31:8 says, "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
The 23rd Psalm is one of my favorites. It reminds me that even though I travel through the valley of the shadow of death (v 4), I will not be afraid. Not because I have good friends to walk with me (which is great), or I have a strong disposition (which will only get me so far) but because God is with me!! This Psalm paints a beautiful picture. It says, "He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters..." (v 2) Have you ever seen someone so distraught or in so much pain they need to be led? This is what God does for us in our weakest moments. He makes us lie down in green pastures. Not necessarily because we want to, (ever wallow in self pity longer than necessary?) but because He knows what's best for us. Note, He MAKES us lie down. Sometimes we fight, sometimes we're so weary, and sometimes we're so incapacitated with grief that we can't do a thing on our own. But God will pick us up, and make us to lie down in the lush field of His love and lead us beside the still waters of His spirit.
Isaiah 64:8 says that we are the clay and the Lord is the potter. Again, such a wonderful picture of an artist lovingly working on a creation. When the pot breaks, only the one who made it knows the right way to fix it. Chances are the work of art will be stronger and more beautiful than before. That's what God does with us when we're hurt, broken, and feel destroyed. He lovingly picks up the shattered mess, carries us to His work table and rebuilds us. We're not the same, we still carry scars of whatever it was that broke us, but His fingerprints are all over us.
When life falls apart, be patient. Know that God is picking you up. It takes time to rebuild a masterpiece. Life won't get back to normal (whatever that is) for months, maybe years, maybe never completely. But you're being worked on. You're being gently, sweetly, purposely fitted back together. Piece by piece, day by day. God loves you. He made you. He's didn't leave you as you came crashing to the floor, He's just getting the broom.