May 20, 2022

A New Way to Think About Brokenness


Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24 ESV

The longer I live the more painfully obvious it becomes: This world is broken, and I am broken.

“The Bible paints for us a cover-to-cover portrait of a world that is disastrously broken, a world that does not function the way God intended,”[1] write Dave Harvey and Paul Gilbert.  Our first inclination is to think that something went wrong, very wrong.

But what if there was more to our brokenness? What if God made a way for life to burst forth out of that brokenness? A farmer’s wife and daughter says that was the plan. “The seed breaks to give us the wheat. The soil breaks to give us the crop, the sky breaks to give us the rain, the wheat breaks to give us the bread. And the bread breaks to give us the feast,”[2] Ann Voskamp writes.

Something radical, something God-designed, happens inside us in the breaking. “My dad told me this once,” Voskamp explains, “For a seed to come fully into its own, it must become wholly undone. The shell must break open, its insides must come out and everything must change. If you didn’t understand what life looks like, you might mistake it for complete destruction.”[3]

Here’s a new way to think about our brokenness: Our personal journeys of brokenness in the lives of Jesus followers pave the way for us to embrace our fellow travelers, unafraid of their messes or of them seeing ours. When we relinquish ourselves to Jesus, new life can grow in us and in others.


Resource reading: John 12:20-26


[1] Dave Harvey and Paul Gilbert, Letting Go: Rugged Love for Wayward Souls (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016), 13.

[2]   Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016), 25.

[3] Ibid., 26.