Encouragement Amidst Brokenness (Part Two)
Posted in Disappointment
Purpose in the Process
Scripture: “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9). “Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1: 2-4
To help our class of 3-year-olds with a challenging puzzle, Ms. Vickie and I showed them the picture on the box top as their guide. As they took turns working on it, many of them looked closely at the box top to get an idea of assembly. It was not long until you could see the picture coming together. But then it happened: More than once as we started to clean up our centers, a child who meant well took the pieces apart and placed them back into the box. What had taken a couple of hours to put together was undone in a matter of seconds. I hurried to the table and said, “Remember we have to leave all the pieces together until it is completely finished. I know that you were trying to help, but tomorrow we will have to start all over.” This setback did not diminish the children’s effort; instead, the next day the assembling went much quicker because the children were familiar with it.
Anyone who has put time and effort into completing a goal knows the frustrations of setbacks. Years of dedication and hard work can be dissolved to nothing because of a bad decision, a mistake, or unforeseen circumstances. It is in those moments that you may ask yourself: Is the goal even worth seeing through if it means starting all over?
We must remember, however, that God has a purpose in the process. He wants to produce endurance in us, as we are reminded by today’s scripture from James. It is often in my persistence in the face of adversity that I grow the closest to God, because I seek his will earnestly, depend on him fully and pray fervently. It is important for us to choose to not grow weary in doing what is good, to not give up, or lose heart, but believe that, at the right time, I will receive a blessing (Gal 6:9).
While it is good to set goals and make plans, we must remember it is the LORD who directs our steps (Proverbs 16:9). God alone knows how long the journey will take and what the best outcome will be.
Similar to how my students had a picture-perfect guide that showed them exactly what the end result would be, we have Jesus as our example and the Holy Spirit as our guide. I am grateful that Romans 8:29 lets us know that the goal for every Christian is to become more like Jesus. All circumstances can work together for good, even the delays or setbacks.
The pages of the Bible are filled with stories of real people who faced hardships, such as Joseph, King David, Ruth and Naomi, Job, the disciples, Paul, and many more. These stories flood my soul with great hope, because the same God who carried them through challenges and brokenness is the same God who is at work in the stories of our lives. If you currently are facing a difficulty, here are three pieces of advice:
- Lift up heartfelt and honest prayers to your Heavenly Father and spend time in the Bible to hear his voice;
- Confide in a trustworthy sister- or brother-in-Christ or a Christian counselor. It’s important to talk to someone during times of brokenness.
- Choose a positive outlet– such as journaling, listening to music, creating art, or just taking a walk– that helps you process your emotions.
God has a purpose in the process. Keep looking at the perfect picture of Jesus as your guide, and let endurance grow in you!
Prayer: Dear God, please create a steadfast spirit in me. I chose to give you thanks for all things in my life. Thank you for your goodness and for your power at work in my life. In Jesus’s name I pray, Amen.
Submitted by Sarah West