ODJ: not broken

May 21, 2013 

READ: Psalm 34:17-22 

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed (v.18).

As someone who has spent a lot of time in the coastal waters of Florida, America, I’ve always enjoyed seeing bottlenose dolphins up close in the wild. That’s one reason I was particularly drawn to the film Dolphin Tale.

Based on a true story, the film is about a fatherless and disheartened boy named Sawyer who finds great joy and meaning in the rehabilitation of an injured bottlenose dolphin named Winter. Sawyer looks up to his older cousin Kyle—a championship swimmer. But Kyle withdraws from his young cousin after he returns from the military with a damaged right leg. 

In a moment of frustration and self-pity, Kyle yells out to one of his doctors that he can’t swim anymore because he’s “broken”. His doctor, who refuses to let Kyle wallow in the waters of self-pity, responds by picking up a drinking glass and dropping it on the ground, shattering it into hundreds of pieces. The doctor then turns to Kyle and says, “Now that’s broken.”

Life in a fallen world will injure us—sometimes very deeply (Psalm 34:17-18). When something painful happens, Jesus doesn’t want us to deny or minimise our hurt (John 11:33-35). Nor does He want us to sink in the waters of despair. He knows we’re hurt, but not “broken”. Not in the complete sense of the word.

The wounds of life don’t have to break our spirit (Psalm 34:20). We can resist the lie that we won’t ever experience meaning or joy again. In time, God can put the wounds of life to work for His kingdom purposes (v.22). Allow Him to use your pain to sensitise your heart to what is most important in life. Let Him make you more sensitive to the needs of those who’ve experienced similar heartaches.—Jeff Olson

Read Psalm 55:22 and see what we should do when the hard things of this world threaten to overwhelm us.
How have the wounds of life tried to break your spirit? How might God be using what happened to make you a more considerate and compassionate person?