Broken (A Holy Week Reflection)
Submitted by Jennifer Power
Oh how I need Your grace
More than my words can say
Jesus I come Jesus I come
In all my weaknesses
You are my confidence
Jesus I come Jesus I come
I need the message of this song this week. Maybe you do too. More than usual today, I am feeling the depth of my great need for His grace. Life sometimes feels like it is spiraling out of control which is honestly silly when I see the big picture. In the big picture, I know God is in control and that my life is pretty amazing. The trouble is, sometimes I cannot seem to see past the weight of what needs to be accomplished and how badly I am failing to live up to my own expectations.
This week is Holy Week in the life of the church. It is the time we stop and remember the week leading up to the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In all honestly, it is a good time to be fully aware of how little power we have apart from Him, for what good is a Savior if we are in need of very little saving?
I am in need of being saved today.
The full weight of what it cost to save me is unbearable. I have never been able to look it in the face. Something inside of me dies when I am faced with a realistic visualization of what it took for Jesus to save me. I have never willingly subjected myself to such a viewing of the torment He experienced on my behalf. Surely, this is weakness in me, but it is nonetheless true. In the past, I have internally berated myself for not being able to sit through something such as a showing of the Passion of the Christ.
Last week, some kids in one of our Sunday school classes saw a short clip from the Jesus movie leading up to His crucifixion. I was not in that particular class but heard afterwards that some of the children were upset by what they had seen. Their teacher kindly told them they could close their eyes, and they did not watch any of the movie the following week where the scenes would have become more graphic.
I felt empathy for the kids who were compelled to look away when Jesus had begun to be hurt. I thought about how my own daughter would be in that class in just two years, and my heart began to break for her. In just two short years, I wondered, would she really be ready to understand the price which had to be paid for her brokenness?
To the best of our ability, my husband and I are raising our children using more gentle parenting techniques and strategies. We set boundaries, structure, and accountability but do so in a way which attempts gentleness and respect toward our children. On the surface, there seems to be nothing gentle about allowing my children to understand the gruesome nature of the penalty of their sins. A driving force in my parenting is my desire for my children to know how wonderful, beautiful, sweet, and precious they are to me. Nails and whips tearing flesh, torture, and the anguish of which my children’s sin is the consequence seems miles away from the wonderful, sweet, beautiful and precious message I want my children to receive about themselves.
For all of us, such an awareness of the consequence of sin surely tears down the veil of childhood innocence; but, amidst the grief of our sinful nature, there is another veil which has been torn.
In those times where I reflect on the full brutality of Christ’ sacrifice for me, I am thoroughly broken. Broken by what He suffered and broken by both my role in His torture and my inability to watch. Here in this brokenness is where I have experienced a mystery of God which transcends understanding. In this very place of brokenness where something dies within me and I lose the ability to stand, beauty, wonder, sweetness, and preciousness is found. In the agony of my own sinfulness – steeped in feelings of worthlessness, despair, and emptiness – a hand gently slips down to touch my face and lift up my head.
Surprised every time by this unexpected turn of events, I turn and see the face of Jesus – the very One who suffered for my wretchedness which led me to this place of self-death. He looks at me and says
You are wonderful.
You are sweet.
You are beautiful.
You are precious. I love you.
The veil which once kept me from the presence of my God was torn at the death of the King. In brokenness, perfect love is found.
This is what God does with brokenness.
So very far from wanting to shield my children from such a reality, I crave it for them. To come face to face with their brokenness and feel the love of their Father wrapped around them is something I cannot give them even with all the gentle parenting in the world. My love for my children will always be flawed. My attempts to love them perfectly in their brokenness will come up short. I can reflect the love of God to them, but the reflection will be but dim. They need the perfect love of their Savior to know and hold fast to true love – to have their brokenness baptized in pure love is something only Jesus can give.
Only Jesus has both died for us and yet has not left us. He has both proven the extent of His love for us in His death yet come back to us through His Spirit… and He will never leave us. Encountering such love can lead us only to adoration.
Thank You Jesus
Just as I am I come
Oh what amazing love!
May this Holy Week find you broken and whole, empty and filled, weak and strong, sorrowful and full of love.
Click here to listen: Jesus I Come – Elevation Worship