Broken for Good

                            Broken for Good

OH the pain!   The past few weekends we have been working on getting our wood cut and ready for the winter months.  Yesterday we split close to 3 cords.  My hubby’s new toy is a gas powered splitter.   All the guys are grunting with glee!

This puppy can do the job!  HOWEVER, it still has to be managed.  You would think,  due to it’s price tag,  the machine would grab a log, split it, roll it, split again and gift wrap it AND nicely place it on the stack.  BUT  NO!

Our youngest son is up in the trailer, he rolls the log down to David, where David places the log on the splitter, as we roll it for multiple splits,  it is then my job to stand as close as I can to it (while straddling the wheel)  and ‘clear the shoot’.   I grab, then throw the pieces off to the side, where our teen age son, then stacks it.

My body is so stinkin sore today, I do believe I will never move or operate the same again.

As I stood there listening to Avalon on my headset, I began to see the process of the ‘breaking’ of the wood.  Many of the pieces were sleek, straight logs, they went through quickly and with out any problems.  Then there were the ones FULL of knots.  As we plunked that hummer down on the holding bed, the gas powered hammer came with great force.  The wood was butted up against the back panel, the hammer pressed right into the middle of the wood.   It continued to amaze me, that regardless of the aim of the hammer, we never really knew where the break would come.

The breaking made some awful sounds at times, there were creaking, cracking and then those deep ‘Sci Fi channel’ moans and groans.  Each piece that came off the holding bed now looked distinctly different from before it met the splitter.   One particular log, was very large in diameter, I counted 19 pieces of split wood from that one log.

The purpose as you know is to take the log and create it by cutting, splitting and forming it to be of use.  We could NOT take that tree, and put it in our wood stove… it would indeed be useless to us … in that form.

The Lord has been speaking to me about ‘brokenness’.  How being broken can create us, form us to be of HIS use.  Sure – we can be a great tree, tall and years of growing getting us to that place.   Withstanding even terrible storms at times.  We become a place of strength, offering shade and shelter for others.  However, there are other uses yet to come to life.  He now needs us to be in a different form.  The ‘forming, cutting, breaking’ process can bring us to a place of being broken for good.  Not as in final, but good in the hands of the Potter, or in this case the Splitter.

King David shares a time in his life when he too is ‘broken’.  The prophet Nathan has come to him and pointed out his adulterous affair with Bathsheba.  David’s heart is convicted and he is so aware that God can not continue to use him in this condition – he repents, and comes before God.  Psalm 51, verse 10 David cries out “Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me.”    He continues in verse 17  “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”

David should know.  If you have observed any of his life, he was up – down, in – out in his obedience to God.  Yet, he loved the Lord.  It is David that pens “I love you, O LORD, my strength.  The LORD is my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.”  Psalm 18:1-2
I believe David not only wanted to be right with God, he wanted what God had in store for him, the next phase of his life if you will.  It is David’s heart and spirit, the seat of his emotions, his mind and his will where God wanted to form something in and through him.  He then sought brokenness.  He sought God’s presence.  He placed himself in a position to receive God’s mercy. 

What is it to be broken, to have a contrite heart before the Lord?  This is what I asked the Lord as I began to ponder it.     It is not only recovering and being restored from a sinful choice or habit.  It is the chiseling away at the hard and stony places of our heart.  That knotting spot in the wood.

First we see that a broken spirit is acceptable to God.

The process?   This breaking in the Hebrew is not just a crack, a fragment here or there, only to deface.  But it is literally to burst in pieces, to shatter, (here’s the really painful part) to crush.  The same Hebrew thought is given when Moses came down off the Mountain and saw what was going on with the children of Israel; remember the dancing and the golden calf?  It says that Moses took the tablets of God and threw them, breaking them in to pieces (Ex.32:19).   The pieces were so many, that it could not be repaired, God gave Moses new tablets.   O that God would give us a new heart.  And He does.  

A few weeks ago, I was driving through rush hour traffic, WAIT – may I rephrase that… I was STUCK in rush hour traffic.  At this time, every one of the fruit of the Spirit was put to the test in and through me.   There definitely was NO patience operating.   Love had indeed gone out the window, kindness along with it.  Joy was no where to be found.  Goodness was only a memory.   It was then, that I heard the Lord speak to me… (in my heart) “You need to be broken”.  I was surprised by this, I told the Lord, “I was, I had been, I am…”  It was His response that has caused me on this new journey of brokenness.  He said “No, you can still stand on your own”.    CRUSH!   GROAN!  

I have observed in others  and found in my own experience that if we choose and step in line for a  walk of brokenness, it is a hefty amount better than it being forced on us (can I hear an AMEN!)

Charles Spurgeon said, “If we chasten our own spirits the Lord will spare us, He never breaks with the rod of judgment those who are already sore with the rod of conviction.”

For many of us, the painful part of being broken is the first initial stance of surrender.  It is coming to terms that there is something-Someone bigger than us.    Seeing and understanding just how tiny we are to the BIG SomeOne.   We find in 1 Peter 5:5-6  “… God opposes the proud but give grace to the humble.  Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.”

I believe humility brings us to a place before God, but being willing to be broken will KEEP us there and stay the course.   Staying under God’s mighty hand – that is where the bruising comes, the crushing, and the breaking of the wood (if you will).  O but the forming is sweet.  Psalm 34:8, again David writes “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”.   The Lord is close.  What David is saying is not only is God near by, but the word picture is that of ‘ready at hand’.  The Lord knows EXACTLY what is going on.  He is ready to love, guide, extend mercy and grace, and save.  Save… love this word.  It is taking us from a tight and narrow place, and placing us in wide open spaces.   As Peter writes… “that He (God) will lift you up in due time”. 

 David writes too, in Psalm 139 verse 5 “you hem me in – behind and before; you laid your hand upon me”.   Oh to be so loved by God that He purposely surrounds us, brings us in close for a season.  When the timing is right -releases us just a bit.   To soar.      “They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”  (Is. 40:31)
Isaiah 57:15

 The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One,
says this: “I live in the high and holy place with those whose
spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of

the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.
I see it not only as a challenge to invite the process of being broken before the Lord, but also an opportunity.  A dear friend recently reminded me, that once we pray those prayers of  “Oh Lord, do in me what You will – break me Lord, and change my heart.”    That is indeed, our voluntarily climbing up on the wood splitter, and having Him apply pressure, and cracking us, forming us.  Yes, there are those ‘O GOD!’ moments…  those ‘groanings that cannot be expressed in words’ (Ro. 8:26)  But the outcome, is acceptable and pleasing to the Lord.  Useful, for Him… broken for good.

Are you in a tight and uncomfortable place?   In due time.  His time.  He will release that powerful hammer, and you will roll off the holding bed,  new and useful, affective.  Philippians 1:6 “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”.

 May we all have a new understanding, that we were created for Him.   “For from him and through him and to him are all things.” (Ro. 11:36)

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago”.  (Eph. 2:10)

Have a God-loving, inviting the pressure for good results – week…

In Him, DeDe (Ps. 92:4 You thrill me, LORD…)

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