There are many stories from the Bible that have gripped me in such a way that I have imagined how great it would be to see them played out on a movie screen (the actual event, not a reenactment!) if not actually seeing it in person. The parting of the Red Sea; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the furnace; Angels announcing the birth of Jesus to the shepherds, the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, and so many more! One particular story that comes to mind today is Jacob wrestling with God. You might find this interesting to know that I actually used to be a wrestler – no not WWF, but in high school. Bantamweight and scrappy I was, but I think Jacob did a better job than I ever could – and I digress. As you know, the Angel touched the socket of Jacob’s hip and it crippled him. When a wrestler’s legs are gone, he can’t do anything. He is completely at the mercy of the one he is facing. Looking at this situation and Jacob’s predicament we may view this as a bad thing. After all, we are often unhappy when things do not work perfectly. When objects are broken, we usually throw them away. Not so in God’s “upside-down” kingdom. The Bible tells us that Jacob received an amazing blessing when he was broken. Brokenness reminds us that we can’t do it on our own. Brokenness shows us our need for a Savior. Brokenness makes us empty so that we can be filled. This is a great blessing.
Recently our worship team has been introducing a new song called “Broken Hallelujah” (check it out here). This song takes the theme of our brokenness and reminds us that it does not disqualify us from worship, but rather energizes it. We can stand on the promises of God as we declare our praise with the assurance that he hears us and is pleased. We can trust in God’s faithfulness as we endure the battle lines and offer our thanks for His presence and power. We can trust in God’s perfect work for us as we glory in the fact that He receives our imperfect offering as the pleasing aroma of Christ. We can stand confidently before God because we know that Jesus hung in our place and paid the price for our sins. Our brokenness doesn’t hinder us from confidently coming into the presence of God, rather it draws us to Him who alone can fill our emptiness and make all things right.
Our brokenness also magnifies the glory of God and leads us to boast in Him alone, as 1 Corinthians 1:27-31 says, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.’”
Let’s pray that God will help us to see our brokenness as blessedness. And let me encourage you to embrace your “Broken Hallelujah” and come ready to sing this song along with us this Sunday.
Karl Stephens is the Director of Worship Arts.