The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners – Isaiah 61:1
On Thursday this week past, I started the day with a Discovery Group; four men including me, trying to learn what Jesus has to say to us for the week. As I listened to each of them, I was acutely aware of their brokenness. Marriages and relationships that had shattered, addictions, poverty, depression – on it went. To boot, these are what the world might call ‘normal,’ men with professions and education.
After that, I wandered down the street for a haircut, and here too, the stories of brokenness continued. People looking for answers in their own backyard, but finding none.
Further up the street, I came across a man, lying on a pedestrian precinct in front of a shop. He was so blackened with dirt, hair so matted that it was difficult to identify where his filthy skin started, and unwashed clothes ended. Obese, unclean, barely able to move, he reminded me more of an animal than a human made in the image of God and people went in a wide circle to avoid him. That was my first thought too.
I decided to sit and talk, to hear his story. Yet more brokenness; he had a row of coins, neatly piled into stacks given by passers-by until he could afford to buy a packet of cigarettes. His life was one of fighting with police, being abused and no doubt giving abuse, as the substances he abused, abused him back. I ended up praying for him, lamenting that I didn’t have the faith of Peter and John to command him to rise up and walk in the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
Close to tears as I walked away, the Lord reminded me that his relationship with us is like my experience that morning; constantly keeping us from straying into sin, we are beggars who walk beside a King.
Is there a cure to this brokenness? Most definitely. The cure ultimately lies with just one person, the person of Jesus Christ, but at the front of the battle are his servants, us, ambassadors of Christ commanded to share that it doesn’t have to be like this.
We celebrate 26 years of marriage this week as well, and as we do, we know who has kept us together and close to each other over that time. It hasn’t always been that way. We too have experienced brokenness in our lives, times of great pain, yet have also experienced God’s grace and renewal. This is very good news for the world, each of us who experience the overwhelming heaviness of life. As in the words of Isaiah above, we have a God who will set us free if we would ask.
How does this happen?
It happens almost always, when we – those who believe, share Jesus with those who search for true meaning in life. Sometimes I wonder whether we, those who have been set free by Christ, are now so removed from the brokenness of the world, that we have truly forgotten what it is like for the world around us. We even condemn them for their state of being.
I have been acutely aware recently, of Christendom’s penchant for spending every waking moment with other believers. We are desperate to get away from the world, and it seems we have little time for much outside of our ‘worship’ and community with other believers. I seriously ask the question, is this the worship God wants or even accepts?
There appears more brokenness in the world now, than at anytime before. Perhaps it is a sign of Christ’s return. To counter this, we as believers need to harken the call of our Lord and present to the world a cure, an antidote. Such a remedy may rest with him, but can be displayed through us. Yet they may never know if we never introduce him.
How will we worship the Son of God this week – look around us, see the brokenness, be reminded of who set us free and then respond? Jesus is willing, the world is in need, perhaps both are waiting for you and I to act.