Saturday, June 20, 2009

Strength In Brokenness

The visit with Brent and his family has been enjoyable and restful. We don't get started early in the morning and don't wind up late at night and I have managed to get a nap each afternoon.

We went on to the Marine Corps base with Brent today. I watched the young men and women in uniform all around me. It seems like only yesterday we were at Parris Island for his graduation from Boot camp. I think that any military person, whether it's been 2 years or 60 years, can remember vividly, their boot camp experience. Many would say it marked the beginning of a whole new person.

When these scared young boys and girls board that bus for boot camp, their life as they have known it, is no more. They may have come with preconceived ideas of how it would be or how it would end up, but they quickly find out they were wrong. For the next four months they are tested. They are sleep deprived. They are disoriented. They have no contact with their family. They are yelled at. They are pushed beyond their mental and physical limits. Many wish, they could turn around and walked back off the bus.

But, the military knows something that these young people don't. They know that there is strength in brokenness. In order to use these young people to their fullest extent, they have to be broken, so that they might have a new kind of strength. The strength needed for battle. The drill instructor's job is to break down the "I" and build up the "we" in these young recruits. For 4 long months these recruits go through the process of being broken and rebuilt the "Marine Corps" way. But when graduation comes, they are new people. They are confident. They are strong and they are proud of their accomplishment. They emerge with a strength they never even knew they possessed. And they are now ready to do a job they would have been unable to do, had they not first been "broken".

Sometimes, when we go through big trials in our lives, I think God is putting us through His "boot camp". We come with our preconceived ideas of how it should be and how it should end up. We don't mind the "camp" so much, but we really don't want to be broken. We are tested. We are scared. We are weary. And sometimes, we wish we could just turn around and walk off the bus.

But God knows that in order to use us fully, we must first be broken. For it is only when we are truly broken that we can see how deep our weakness goes. In complete brokenness, we discover we can do nothing on our own.
But Isaiah 40:29 gives us hope and a promise. It says , "He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak."

God has not forced me into His "boot camp." He never forces anyone. And, I need not be afraid of being broken by Him. He gently asks me to trust Him, as He breaks me and remolds me into a new person. And He promises that if I am willing to be broken, He will give me a new strength in Him. A strength that can accomplish all things! (Phillipians 4:13)