Earlier this fall, my daughter injured her wrist helping her brother load hay. We thought she either sprained it or perhaps pulled something and that given time it would eventually get better. She immobilized it with a brace and pampered it for several weeks, but as the weeks passed it became evident that any activity that involved repetitive movement of her wrist or strain on that joint continued to cause her considerable pain. We discovered the damage to the connective tissue in her wrist was more extensive than we initially thought.
One day, several weeks after her injury, I was discussing a project that I was working on and I casually told her, “I would ask you to help me, but I don’t think you can since you’ve ruined your wrist.” She immediately corrected my terminology and said that although her wrist was injured it was not ruined. I hadn’t meant to imply that she would never completely recover from the injury, but since that time we have often teased about my choice of words and my implied impatience with her recovery time.
This week I was reminded how often we bring our sins and our brokenness to the Great Physician in much the same way we approach the doctor with an injury – we either want a simple solution with a quick fix or we want assurance that our injuries are minor and will eventually heal given time. We cling to our pride and our sense of self-worth and want to think we are bringing something repairable – something only slightly damaged – something we can fix ourself. We don’t want to know we are ruined; we just want a second opinion- a confirmation of our worth and ability to heal ourselves.
But God is patient with us and allows us to go on trying our quick fixes and home remedies until we are weary with the efforts. He allows us to bend until we break. When we think we are ruined, when we think we are stained and unredeemable, when we let go of our puffed up pride and discover we are unable to heal ourselves that is when we find ourselves at the foot of the cross. It is only when we see ourselves as broken beyond repair, unworthy, unusable, and incapable of healing our own broken souls that we know how desperately we need a Savior – not just a one-time Savior to seal our salvation, but an everyday, every hour, every minute Savior to heal our broken, sinful, nature. It seems that it is only when we are broken do we then see that we bring nothing good to God – only our sin. Even our righteousness is nothing but rags before a Holy God.
Perhaps sometimes we need to be broken so that we who think we are valuable, we who so desperately want to be worthy, may find ourselves in desperate despair fumbling with our broken pieces. We need that MRI of the soul to confirm what we suspect – we are broken and ruined. However, He does not need to break us to bring glory to Himself; we have a Savior who does not need our brokenness to prove his ability to mend; we break ourselves and he uses our brokenness to open our eyes to the fallen state in which we live. We must see our ruins before we see ourselves clearly and sometimes that leaves us sinking in despair. But if we would only look up from the pieces we would see that nothing is required of us. Before us lies the whole, completed, finished, and perfect work of Christ on our behalf. We have a Great Physician that unlike any earthly physician does more than just mend our brokenness, he renews and restores us and draws us to Himself where we are made whole.