Blog, Living in the Abundance of Christ

Vulnerable, Desperate and Broken

Is there ever a time you are more vulnerable then when you are sick? I would say yes, and that would be when you’re sick, but don’t have a diagnosed illness, so people, even sometimes your own doctors, might think you’re also crazy. Maybe you’re starting to question your sanity too, only confounding your condition. Not only are you physically weak, but you also seem to be mentally weak. You start questioning yourself. Is it all in your head? Can’t you just pull yourself together? You must be lazy or an attention seeker. Maybe you are crazy.  This is happening because of all of your sins. There have been so many. You’re getting what you deserve.

These things become your new inner dialogue.

Nothing is going right. Nothing.

Everything looks and feels so dark.

You start to despair of life itself.

Hopelessness descends…

What a bleak place this is. You are vulnerable, all your strength has been drained. Broken, from your own sins and the sins of others. Desperate, so desperate and hopeless.

And then…

Something changes, something in you has changed. You look around and can now see things clearly.

He has taken you from death to life.

You realize you are a sinner in need of a Savior and cry out to him.

You cry out to him, a vulnerable, broken, and desperate mess, and He loves you.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

It’s been over 10 years since my conversion, and so much has changed. I originally believed that being a Christian would mean an end to all my problems. That my vulnerability, brokenness, and desperation would end and it would be replaced with confidence, wholeness and independence. I would pray for deliverance from these weaknesses, but to no avail. I had actually believed that God wanted me to live a comfortable, prosperous, glorious life through Christ. Thankfully my illusions didn’t last long as I started to read his Word and listen closely.  I had been so foolish. I grew in fear of the Lord and understanding (Proverbs 1:7) . I began to see that the life of a Christian is not how many today would have you believe (2 Timothy 4:3). It is wrought with suffering (Romans 5:3). It consists of picking up my cross daily to follow Him (Luke 9:23). It is turning away, and repenting of my sins consistently (Luke 3:8). It is humbling myself under the mighty hand of God (James 4:10). It is realizing the fullness of joy that can only be had through Christ alone (Psalm 16:11). It is handing him the ashes I have, all I have to offer, and him making them beautiful (Isaiah 61:3). It is him not wasting a single part of my pain, anguish, or suffering but using it all for his own glory and my own good (Romans 8:28). It is the peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7) . It is thinking of things above and not things below (Colossians 3:2). It is longing for his return, when I can be with him forever (Philippians 3:20).

This is part of my story, and I would imagine most conversion stories look pretty similar. From the day he quickens our hearts we start changing to become more like Christ. Salvation is not the end of the story, but the beginning.  I don’t think you’ve really started to live, until you know and are known by Christ. And though you are changed and now a new creation in Christ – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17, don’t be surprised when others don’t see you this way.

The world looks down on these things. Because things like vulnerability, brokenness, and desperation are weakness epitomized and people don’t like to look at weakness. Yes, some might treat you nicely, while others will be more obvious in looking down on you, even some proclaiming Christ.

And you know what happens then? Christ calls you out to do things for him. He has you step out, in the midst of your weakness, and do what he’s called you to do. I don’t know why.

“…but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong…” 1 Corinthians 1:27

And he says:

“…My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather boast in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Thankfully, because my mind is being renewed (Ephesians 4:23), I have a new inner dialogue. But that old dialogue still comes up pretty frequently, reminding me of all that I lack, and all that I’ve done wrong. And if my inner dialogue doesn’t do it, other people certainly will.

In the midst of all this I am still vulnerable, broken and desperate, but it is not the same as it was before.

Christ calls me to be vulnerable in my relationships, when he tells me to love my enemies and bless those who curse me (Luke 6:27,28) and when he tells me to love my neighbor as myself (Galatians 5:14).

He doesn’t fix all my broken parts, but shines through them and uses them for his own purposes. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;…” 2 Corinthians 4:7-9

I’m still in desperate need of Jesus, and I realize with each passing day I need him more. “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.” Colossians 2:6,7

Yes. Jesus knows all these things, and still calls me to be strong and courageous in and through him. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 

I am not dependent on my own strength, or my own righteousness, but Christ’s. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Even though it’s painful at times, stepping out and into God’s calling for your life when other people don’t approve of you, or speak well of you is O.K. In fact the Bible says:

“Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way” Luke 6:26

So this is what I want to say: We are all sinners in need of a Savior. At times our own inner dialogue will tell us why we can’t or shouldn’t step out and into Christ’s calling for our lives and remind us of all of our weaknesses, and many times others will tell us why we can’t or shouldn’t step out and into Christ’s calling for our lives and point to all of our weaknesses.

Do it anyway.

If God has called you to do something, do it. “We must obey God rather than man”(Acts 5:29)

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four loves

 

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