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Why is there so much brokenness in my life?

Why is there so much brokenness in my life?

I’ve been known to smile a lot. When I was a little girl, I would win my school’s “Sunshine Award” every year for having the brightest smile. To this day, my family calls me Sunshine more than they call me Leah. I don’t get “Sunshine Awards” anymore, but I still usually have a bright smile on my face. In fact, if you’ve seen me any time in the past year, I probably smiled at you. But behind my smile and behind my “I’m fine, thank you” for the past year, there has been a broken heart.

Courtesy of Leah Holder Green

It didn’t get broken all at once. It was kind of gradual. It was a bold move I thought I made for the Lord that didn’t turn out at all like I expected. It was a concerning doctor’s report about one of my nearest and dearest loved ones. It was feelings of isolation and not belonging. It was fatigue. It was a joyful expectation that turned into a bitter sorrow. It was health issues. Disappointment after disappointment, blow after blow. And when it all added up, the result was brokenness. I felt broken.

How did I get here? I wondered. I had not tried to rebel against God. In fact, I was trying to live for Him fully. I kept trying to figure out what was happening to me. Did I do something wrong? If not, why is there so much brokenness in my life? What could possibly be the explanation for all of this? Despite feeling like I wanted to hit the PAUSE button on my life and just stay in bed some days, I resolved to keep putting one foot in front of the other and not give up. So I kept going, and I kept smiling. But deep down, in my quiet moments, I still had questions about the darkness I had walked through. Then one day, as I was driving home, I heard something.

I heard a sermon on YouTube in which the preacher explained the following: 

There’s no word for “tragedy” in the ancient Hebrew language (which is the original language of the Old Testament). Why? Because it was assumed that if God had not redeemed the pain of any given situation, it only meant that He was not finished working yet. In other words, if it wasn’t good yet, God wasn’t finished yet. I turned off the YouTube video and tears began to stream down my face. In my heart, I could sense God telling me…

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Leah, I know that the circumstances I’ve allowed into your life have caused you pain and discomfort. I don’t like to see you hurting. I knew you wouldn’t understand, and I knew you would question My love, but I had to let you walk through this season BECAUSE I love you. I had to let you see some of the flaws in your perception of Me and some of the areas where your faith in Me needed to be strengthened. I know that as you examine your life right now, several areas don’t look very good to you. But I’m asking you to keep pressing in and keep pressing through, because I’m not finished working yet.

Do you have any unredeemed hurt or darkness or ugliness in your life right now? If you are a child of God, He’s not finished working yet. It wouldn’t be fair to judge artists, authors, playwrights, or movie directors’ work before they were finished. Let’s extend the same courtesy to our heavenly Father and trust that if He hasn’t redeemed the hurt yet, He’s not finished yet. His redemption may not come in the way or timing we think it should, but it will be good. And it’s true that some hurts may not be fully redeemed until we leave earth and fully enter the presence of God. But I believe God will give us foretastes of His sweet redemption in the here and now. Let’s briefly take a look at a few people who found themselves in ugly situations that turned out beautifully when God finished His work.

Ruth & Naomi

Ruth lost her husband in a time when women had few rights and almost wholly relied on men for their provision and safety. Her mother-in-law, Naomi, had lost her husband, too. After both her sons died as well, Naomi decided to go back to her hometown, Bethlehem. Instead of Ruth staying in her hometown and seeking to remarry there, she resolved to go with Naomi. They went back to Bethlehem alone, as two widows. 

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The situation looked bad.

But God wasn’t finished yet

Ruth went on to marry a kinsman-redeemer of Naomi’s family, Boaz, and they had a son named Obed. The people praised God for how He redeemed Naomi’s pain, and how she gained a son through Ruth and Boaz. Obed would become the father of Jesse, who would become the father of King David.

If we judged God’s work based on Ruth 1:22, when Naomi and Ruth went to Bethlehem as widows, our assessment would have been flawed, because He wasn’t finished working yet.

Hannah

Hannah was barren in a time when bearing children was viewed as women’s chief contribution. To add insult to injury, her husband’s other wife (yeah, that was a thing) would tease and provoke Hannah, because she had no trouble bearing children. Hannah cried so many tears.

The situation looked bad.

But God wasn’t finished yet

In time and after fervent prayer, God blessed Hannah with a son named Samuel. Samuel would go on to become a great prophet of the Lord for many years.

If we judged God’s work based on 1 Samuel 1:2, when Hannah was barren and tormented, our view would have been incomplete, because He wasn’t finished working yet.

Jesus

After three years of a public ministry full of miracles and teachings, Jesus was falsely accused, arrested, beaten, and sentenced to death by crucifixion. Soon thereafter, He did hang on a cross, and He did die. His followers had believed that He was God, but how could God die? Most of them fled in fear.

The situation looked bad.

But hallelujah, God wasn’t finished yet!!!

When a few of Jesus’ followers went to visit his tomb three days later, He was not there! HE WAS RISEN!!! If we judged God’s work based on Friday, when Jesus died, our view would be incomplete, because He wasn’t finished working yet. Friday’s events appeared hopeless. But Sunday’s event brought hope to the entire world.

My friend, these are not stories from a storybook. We read about people’s lives in the Bible with chapters and verses, but they lived their lives in real time. These are real people’s testimonies of how God came through for them. Whatever the unredeemed hurts and pains and dark places are in your life, hand them over to God. It may still hurt, but keep moving forward. If it’s not good yet, He’s. Not. Finished. Yet.

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Leah Holder Green left a promising legal career to dedicate her gifts to full-time ministry.  She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, Phi Beta Kappa, she earned her juris doctorate (J.D.) from the University of Texas School of Law, and she is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Christian Education degree at Dallas Theological Seminary. Leah is married to the love of her life, Clarence “Champ” Green, and they have recently welcomed their first child — a beautiful girl named Caylen Joy. She is the co-author (with Pastor Michael Pender) of No Trespassing: I'm God's Property (Morgan James Faith).

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