“I am very aware of the fact that pain is necessary to all of us. In my own life, I think I can honestly say that out of the deepest pain has come the strongest conviction of the presence of God and the love of God.” -Elisabeth Elliot
I planted fifty daffodil bulbs on a cool November afternoon. On hands and knees, digging into rocky soil, I dug fifty holes. The soil at times, hard and unrelenting. Still I persistently dug. This digging felt therapeutic. The rhythmic motion, the labor of the task, the dirt and grim under my nails and in the creases of my hands, a healing balm of sorts. I was relating to this breaking earth because I too felt broken.
This last month of our adoption journey has broken me in ways that I did not anticipate. Ways that have left me feeling crushed, raw and aching. My heart has broken wider for that which breaks His heart. In this freshly broken place, I have become more reliant, more pliable to the loving care and tending of my Father’s hands. I have come to understand His love for all His beloved children at a deeper level. The broken places have ushered in a love that seeps deeper and runs wider.
As I broke earth and dug deep, I heard Him softly speaking, “My daughter, it is in the breaking that abundant life begins. Hope will emerge from the darkness. Joy will rise from the sorrow. You must first know brokenness, to experience the wholeness of My love.”
A picture of Jesus came to mind. How He loved the broken and healed their wounds. How He sat with, walked with and broke bread with the unclean and the outcasts. He got His hands dirty and His heart broke for all the brokenness of this world.
If that was not enough, He then gave up His own life. Breaking for you, for me, for the whole of this hard and unrelenting world. He broke so that we could have life. So we could be made new, experiencing the joy of His presence even in our deepest sorrow. In His breaking, we can now freely know the wholeness of the Father’s love.
Yet the story does not end in the breaking, this is only where the story begins. After He was beaten and broken to the point of being unrecognizable, Jesus lay in a dark tomb. All hope seemed lost. Yet after three days, hope emerged and joy rose. Jesus conquered death, sorrow and brokenness once and for all. Jesus is alive!
I let this reassurance seep in as I placed the onion like bulbs into deep holes and gently packed soft, moist soil around each one. One by one, I prayed as I planted. Prayed that in this rough rocky soil, life would begin. That roots would run deep and a sprout would begin to grow, strong and healthy. I prayed that in the darkness, in the waiting, the hope of life would break free, emerging, rising up tall, reaching for the sun. I prayed that in rising tall and sure, a bud would form. Blooming beautiful, the yellow face of joy shining bright in the glory of His splendor.
“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”
Isaiah 61:1b-3 NIV