Breaking? Nope, Broken
In 2017 I prayed a dangerous prayer…
So many of us pray for dependence upon the Lord. We pray that we would live sold-out to Him. Yet, we never consider what that might do to our lives if He actually answers that prayer.
Is it not highly possible He’s going to put us in extremely painful and uncomfortable situations that force us to realize our complete dependence upon Him?
Do we realize being sold-out to Jesus brings persecution and hatred by the world? Do we realize being more like Jesus means people will want to see us dead, just as they did with Jesus?
Yet, back to my dangerous prayer. I was attending a prayer meeting and these words left my lips. “Lord, I am breaking, but I’m not broken yet.”
To get context of this prayer, I have to back up to a little earlier in 2017 to another dangerous prayer I prayed.
I was praying with some fellow believers at a Bible event and I told the Lord if all there was to the Christian life was high-class Christian events where we paraded our knowledge, enjoyed a safe week among believers and just hung out together as a cluster of believers, just take me home.
You see, my heart ached for battle, for grit, for real.
I have grown up in a very Christian environment, which I am extremely grateful for, don't get me wrong. Yet, in the midst of this, my heart has grown weary of how often we as believers seem to be putting on a show. The fake smiles hurt for me to see, when I know or find out later that person was really in a tailspin or some extremely difficult trial or battle.
We have a world that is falling apart in desperate need of the Savior and what do we tend to do at times? Lay on thick and heavy church events and activities, small groups, services, prayer meetings and the like. I'm not saying these things are bad, it simply seems we can have this great front of religion whenever we gather. Yet, outside of these events, we can tend to either hide out in our Christian circles or go out into the world and keep our Savior to ourselves.
I’m weary of both extremes. They are both 110% unbiblical and a total affront to what Jesus called us to do and prayed for us to do. His call is to be in the world, but not of it, proclaiming the gospel to everyone. (Matthew 28:18-20, John 17) Let me be clear, that everyone means EVERYONE. It includes the people I dislike, despise, see as unreachable and the people I find outside of my comfort zone. If they are a human being, living and breathing, there’s my mission field.
Many identify as Christian in this country called the United States, but few live it out and truly own their claim of Christianity.
With heart weary of believers hiding out instead of standing out, blending in with the world instead of being in but not of, I cried out to the Lord and He answered. He stepped in and lovingly began to destroy my legalism, my pride, my self-dependence, my comfort zone and my idols. All these things that were standing in my way of being more like Him. It hurt, but I needed His chisel.
And back in 2017, I cried out for more of it and boy, did I get it.
Fast forward to 2019 and Nathaniel isn’t breaking anymore, he’s broken and the pieces still left are being ground into dust.
So I must pose my question again.
Do you and I really want to be like Jesus?
Do we realize that means we have to love the "Pharisees," while boldly calling out their hypocrisy? Do we realize that means they will hate us and want to see us dead?
Do we realize being like Jesus requires us to love the least of these, the despised and hated “tax collectors” and “prostitutes” of this day and age?
Do we realize Jesus loved the “sinners” the Pharisees would have nothing to do with?
Do we realize Jesus, the most loving and truthful person in the world, was hated so much He was murdered brutally?
Do we realize all those people who claimed to love and follow Him, dwindled to a mere handful at the foot of the cross?
Do we realize following Jesus will lead us to the same pain, suffering and heartbreak He faced as He loved and loves the human race?
Do we realize standing on His truth has the potential to put us at odds with even our best of friends and our family?
Do we realize the depth of persecution and spiritual attack living like Jesus brings?
Do we really want to be broken before Him? Do we?
Do we really want self to be totally stripped from our lives? Do we truly want the Word of God to reign over area of our lives?
Do we really want to go outside the city like our Savior, bearing the disgrace He bore?
Wait, you mean Peter was serious in his epistles about Christians suffering, like, for real? (1 Peter 3-4)
So, I have to ask myself and you as well, my reader, do you, do I, really want Jesus?
Is honoring Him really worth being crushed?
Do we believe He’s worth the pain?
Do we believe He is worth the hurt?
Do we believe He is worthy of the suffering we will face?
And, scary as it might be, are we willing to back up this assertion of truth with action, no matter what it might cost us?
My heart says yes, but my head…still working on that one.
I don’t have answers in my human reasoning. These are simply the memoirs of a broken man who is struggling with difficult life questions. And I am wrestling, REALLY wrestling.
Praise God, it is okay for us to wrestle through things! God isn’t afraid of my brutally honest questions and struggles. For that matter, He tells me to lay them all out before Him. (Psalm 55:22, 1 Peter 5:7)
In the midst of the broken, shattered remnants of my life, I deeply resonate with what Job said and from these ashes I join my voice with this man of God who has gone before; “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives. In the end, He will stand upon the earth. After my skin is destroyed, then I will see God in my flesh, whom I, even I, will see on my side. My eyes will see, and not as a stranger. My heart is consumed within me.”
And, “though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.”
Better to die in the Lord’s hands than live anywhere else.
No, I don’t have any answers that soothe this brokenness in my life, but I submit to His chisel, knowing His masterpiece isn’t finished.
I want to be like Jesus and God is answering my prayer.
Yes, Jesus is enough.
Whether I feel like that’s true or not is irreverent. I know it to be true and so I will keep pressing on in His strength in what I know, not what I feel.
Broken before the Lord, it is a terribly painful, yet awfully wonderful, peaceful, yet stormy all around place to be.
Your will be done Lord and may Your name alone be glorified!