The place of the wound is the place of the healing. The place of the break is the place of the greatest strength. That’s why Jesus himself, even in his resurrected body, reappears with the wounds still in his hands, in his side, in his feet.
Breathing Under Water
I’ve always liked this quote by Richard Rohr. This message gave me great hope a number of years ago as I walked the difficult journey of healing from a wounding. I felt broken to my core, and, though I believed in a God who desired my healing, I wondered whether I would make it through the brokenness to a healed and whole self. This was one of the hardest struggles of my life. It called into question all that I had trusted and believed in, including my relationship with God. At one point, I realized that I didn’t know anything about God, except that there was a God.
There were times when hope, comfort, and trust were missing, and all I could feel was the despair of a never-ending brokenness. Sometimes all I could do was let others trust and believe and hope on my behalf. I could hang on to that fact — that though I didn’t know if I could get through the darkness, friends and helpers were there with me, encouraging me when God seemed to be absent.
I came to believe that God desires healing and wholeness for each of us and for all creation. But God cannot prevent the brokenness that happens on the earth, in our bodies, hearts, minds, and relationships. This brokenness, these fractures and disappointments, are part of the imperfect story of creation.
Years later, I can see how my woundedness helped to form the person I have become. My brokenness is part of the unique fabric of my life — a part of the collection of experiences that make up who I am. My wounds have helped to shape in positive ways the woman I have become. My brokenness was transformed into the gifts of compassion, creativity, kindness, and strength.
The spiritual life starts at the place where you can hear God’s voice. Where somehow you can claim that long before your father, your mother, your brother, your sister, your school, your church touched you, loved you, and wounded you — long before that you were held safe in an eternal embrace.
—Henri J. M. Nouwen
Our First Love
All of us are broken. And in each experience of brokenness, each wound, each set-back, God the Comforter sits beside us, holding us in gentle arms, sending us strength, weeping with us, knitting together the pieces of a broken heart.
In this season of Lent, Holy Week, and Easter, we sit with the brokenness of ourselves, of neighbors and friends, knowing that the Christ we follow knew brokenness in a way we never will. Jesus faced betrayal and broken relationships, assaults on his body and spirit, the pain of violence, the passage of death. And yet he overcame this human brokenness to walk with each of us as we journey through struggles.
Take comfort and strength in knowing that whatever brokenness we have experienced, Christ has been there. God is there, with us, right now. Thanks be to God.
Beth A. Richardson
Managing Editor, Alive Now
Credit: “From the Editor” by Beth A. Richardson in March/April 2015 Alive Now. Copyright © 2015 by The Upper Room. Purchase a copy of this issue on “Brokenness” by calling 1.800.972.0433. Or download the digital issue today.