Review: Brokenness

coverHave you gone through trying times, and wondered what God’s plan is or was? Are you going through them now?

I have. There was a time about 9 years ago that I wondered what in the world God was trying to teach me. How in the heck could I possibly be in this mess? I don’t *feel* like I’m such a bad person that God would punish me like this, so what the heck is God doing?

Brokenness: How God Redeems Pain and Suffering by Lon Solomon answers these questions. My favorite analogy is the electric wire – if the wire has too much resistance, electricity won’t flow through it. Likewise, a proud human spirit has a lot of resistance, and God cannot use such a person. Once the person is broken in spirit and recognizes that everything belongs to God and that God is supreme, then God can use him.

Looking through biblical characters for examples of this, Job immediately comes to mind. But the author also spends quite a bit of time on Moses, comparing his earlier life in the service of Pharaoh with his later life as God’s servant. Other characters such as Peter when he denied Jesus are also discussed. But the most powerful example is Lon Solomon himself. He describes that as a pastor of a growing church how his life was turned upside down with the birth of his daughter. After hundreds of seizures that left her severely handicapped, Lon was at a loss as to God’s plan. It derailed all of his retirement plans with his wife, put a severe strain on his marriage, and took all of his time caring for his daughter.

But then the author realizes God’s plan – and shows how God’s plan in Lon’s life and his daughter’s life have left them both blessed and broken – and doubly blessed *because* he is broken. Lon has a deep appreciation and gratitude for the service he is blessed to provide to his daughter, and how his daughter is blessed with all those that love her, and how God turned Lon’s inward-focus to a focus on God. The church is growing faster than ever, but that’s no longer Lon’s goal. All along, it was all for God’s glory.

This is a must-read; God speaks to us when we are truly desperate for Him, and that only happens when we are broken. If you’re in high spirits you can pray, “NowIlaymedowntosleepamen,” but if you are hurting, then you truly know what it is like to plead with God and to depend on Him for everything. Your prayers *have* to be different. If you’re hurting and wondering, let Lon Solomon explain with scripture why you are hurting and what God is doing in your life.

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8 thoughts on “Review: Brokenness

  1. Don’t know of any formal tradition -per se, being still a recent convert, but the entire NT points out the requirements and benefits of suffering, pointing to Christ’s passion as the ultimate suffering for perfection of the sins of humans. Sorry for the long post, but I got interested with Lent coming.

    Quick search revealed these passages:

    Whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:38).

    “[We are] joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him” (Rom. 8:16-17).

    “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18).

    “And this is God’s doing. For to you has been granted, for the sake of Christ, not only to believe in him but also to suffer for him” (Phi!. 1:28-29).

    “I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the Church” (Co!. 1:24).

    “You have also forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons: ‘My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges.’ Endure your trials as ‘discipline’; God treats you as sons” (Heb. 12:5-7).

    “[A]ll discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it” (Heb. 12:11).

    “In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials” (1 Pet. 1:6).

    “Whenever anyone bears the pain of unjust suffering because of consciousness of God, that is a grace. . . Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps” (1 Pet. 2:19-21).

    Also, I am looking forward to finding C.S. Lewis’ “The Problem with Pain” (In which I read suffering here) One conclusion is that pain is “planting the flag of truth in the conciousness of the rebellious free spirit of man”. (paraphrased – you can see why I want to read it).

    The problem of evil/suffering in the world is a major stumbling block for many, who do not believe that a benevolent God would allow suffering. Suffering is absolutely essential to direct us to God, for without it, proud beings such as us, would tend to believe that we don’t need him. Sort of a divine whack up side the head.

    In it’s simplest form, I think of suffering as a tool of perfection for us, forcing a dependence on God for life, and also pointing out to us “free spirits” that sin is not a good thing.

    Moms and Dads do it all the time:

    Johnny, don’t touch the stove – it will hurt…….see, I told you so, now go bandage your hand and remember what I tell you is true.

    Tradition backs this up, of course. Augustine’s writings some to mind.

    Also, being on the verge of the lenten time, this question is entirely appropriate. See also Pope Bendict’s 2006 thinkings on human suffering and our duty to alleviate it – Great insight on the scripture:

    “Jesus, at the sight of the crowds, was moved with pity” (Mt 9:36).

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/lent/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20050929_lent-2006_en.html

    Cheers.

    Like

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