Red, blooming rose in the Rose Garden at Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Happiness in spite of a broken heart

God can work with a broken heart. Did you realize that? I mean, we say it all the time. We talk about it in church a lot. God uses broken people, which is fortunate because all of us are broken. But those people with broken hearts have the opportunity to be used in a truly great way.

There’s something about recognizing that you are broken that allows you to let God truly do what He wants to do in your life. I don’t know if it’s because you aren’t hiding. I don’t know if it’s because you’re being honest with God and with yourself and with everyone else. I don’t know. But the humility that comes from understanding how broken we are is something that God can take and make beautiful.

Red, blooming rose in the Rose Garden at Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Red, blooming rose in the Rose Garden at Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Today’s verses are Philippians 2:9-11.

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
    and gave him the name above all other names,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

That one word therefore has a lot riding on it. It really means something like because. So if we really want to understand what these verses are about, we’d better check the verses that come before it. Since I’m doing a study of Philippians right now, I actually blogged on these verses yesterday. But I’ll add them into this text again too.

Philippians 2:5-8 says: “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”

And because He did this, God elevated Him. That’s where our verses for today pick up. Because He chose to be humble, because He chose to have a humble attitude even though He deserved to rule, God raised Him up.

This is the way it works with all of us. If we are willing to live humble lives with humble attitudes, not trying to cover up our brokenness with religion but trusting God to help us through, God will move us from the lowest rung on the ladder to a place where we can make a real difference for Him.

For years, I tried to do things on my own. I’m independent like that. Of course, I believed in Christ. I trusted God. But I had my own ideas about what my life needed to look like. I had my own ideas about where I would go to school, who I would marry, where I would live, what I would do for a living. And I was bound and determined to do things my way. But my life really hasn’t worked out the way I thought it would.

Just being honest this morning, I really thought I’d be married by now. Or at least, I thought I would have gone on a date. And there was a time when that really bothered me because isn’t that what is supposed to happen? Aren’t all good little Christian girls supposed to grow up, get married, have kids? That’s the norm. That’s the plan I had. That’s what I wanted when I was younger. But there came a day when I realized that what I wanted for my life wasn’t necessarily what God wanted, and at that point I had a choice to make. I could either focus on my discontentment in how my life had turned out and forge ahead to clear a path toward the goal I wanted–or I could go along with what God wanted, in spite of the fact that it led me in a different direction than I ever thought I’d go.

I haven’t always made the best decisions in my life, but this time I decided to go with God. And I’m glad I did. He has allowed me to do things I never thought I’d get to do. He has opened doors for me to help others in ways I never could have if I had been married and had children.

But before He could use me the way He wanted, I had to let go of the dreams I had for me. I had to take the broken pieces of my dreams and my heart and trust them to God to fix or throw away or do whatever He wanted to do with them. And because I was willing to let go of those broken pieces, He was able to do something with them, reshape them, repurpose them, and recreate them into something so much better than I even knew how to wish for.

There are still days when I think about what it would be like if I had gone down that road of marriage and family, but I’m not sad that I’m not there. Maybe that path is still in my future. Or maybe not. Either way, I’m not worried about it because God has given me something to do today, and as a single person I can accomplish more for God because I can be totally dedicated to Him. Not saying a married person can’t be totally dedicated to God, but I imagine it’s more difficult with a spouse and children. Now I look at being single as a privilege.

I don’t know where you are today. I don’t know if you’re married or divorced or single or widowed or somewhere between all of those. But what I do know is that God can take a broken heart and make it beautiful again. He can take the unhappiness and discontent that living life for yourself, by yourself inevitably brings and turn it into something wonderful and, satisfying and full. But you’ve got to be humble enough to trust Him. You’ve got to be willing to let go of what you think you deserve or what you think life owes you or what you think God owes you.

If you can do that, you’ll be surprised where you end up, and you’ll be amazed what He gives you the opportunity to do.