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Not just a 'make-do' repair

It was Ernest Hemingway who reminded us, "The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places." What are the 'broken places' of your life? Go ahead - for a moment or two - just ponder that one and begin to call those 'broken places' by name. You have them and you likely have attached some sort of 'name' to those broken places - like divorce, death, or defeat. You defined those broken places by an event or some outcome in life. Now, look again at those broken places and describe some of the strength that has come out of that place. What name does that strength bear? It was likely easier for us to put a name to our 'broken places' than it was to put a name to the strength that was worked into us because we were broken. We remember what 'broke us', but we oftentimes don't recall all that has happened in our lives that help to mend those broken places into even stronger ones.

A broken spirit is my sacrifice, God. You won’t despise a heart, God, that is broken and crushed. (Psalm 51:17)

Chances are that you can describe a strength of character that has come out of those broken places in your life -  a strength of character that is far outside whatever your 'natural response' would have been to those circumstances. What is character anyway? I think God would describe it as those things that we eventually put into our lives that some call 'habits'. When character has been developed, the results are 'reproducible' time and time again. Where God has turned broken places into a place that reflects his strong, moral character within a man or woman, the resulting action is this ability to 'reproduce' with consistency that right response to life's challenges. Instead of the 'broken place' dominating our lives, it becomes a springboard that launches us into new actions.

Sometimes we are guilty of allowing the broken places to shut us down - to cause us to just march in place for a while. Instead of becoming a springboard, they become wallow pits! To be free of the pit is our goal, but our heart is content to just wallow for a while. That is the problem with broken places - they can lure us into the wallow pit. You know who lives right next door to the broken place? That neighbor is the 'feel sorry for me' family! My BFF and I took a ride through a very old mining community this week. As we made our way through the old neighborhoods, one thing stood out to me. The clapboard and adobe buildings still stood and many were still with families in residence. Some were bolstered in very unsightly ways, but they still stood.

What did the bolsters do for those homes. They allowed all the broken places to just be 'shored up' a little so they home was in a 'make-do' kind of state of repair. The thing about God is that he isn't a 'make-do' kind of God. When he sets to repairing the broken places of our lives, we sometimes he is busy tearing down those places a little bit, exposing just how much damage has been done. Then he sets about to build us up stronger than we were before. This is why God asks us to bring our broken spirit to him - as a sacrifice laid completely on the altar. He wants to make those places stronger - not just 'healed'. He wants us to live in such a way that we don't need the bolsters - because the walls of our emotions, spirit, and mind are all whole again. Just sayin!

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