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Saturday night, my boyfriend and I decided to make Tauren Wells, Riley Clemmons, and Andrew Ripp our best friends. And by best friends, I mean we stood in the back of a crowded church, listening to their concert with hands lifted high and tears in our eyes.
Outside, the wind was blowing as a gentle rain began to mist the night’s sky. Things felt cold and bitter, an emotion I’d been harvesting in my soul the past few months, exhausted from the fight it takes to keep on breathing.
Inside, hearts were in unison, singing to the one and only who deserves all praise. Things felt warm and joyful, a sensation I kept asking, pleading, and praying to receive from the Lord. That is until this line stopped me in my tracks: “What if maybe every broken place I’ve been was a godsend?“
And I felt the Holy Spirit speak in the tears streaming down my face: What if maybe my anxiety is a Godsend, teaching me to depend on His strength in the dark days is a Godsend?
Because like Riley Clemmon’s lyrics, I wonder how many plans I made up in my mind without reminding myself that a man can plan his steps, but it’s the Lord who directs his path (Proverbs 16:9). I’ve now questioned how I prayed for Him to show up, but did I lay my weapons down in surrender? Have I honestly seen every closed door, every single sharp thorn as a blessing rather than a curse?
If every broken place I’ve been, every fragmented pain that slices itself deeper into my skin, is an opportunity for growth, would I be willing to endure it? Am I strong enough to admit that God never called me to be powerful but weak? For when I am weak, that’s when His greatest strength breaks through the darkest night.
In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Paul grapples with this same question. How can I be strong when this thorn in my side is dragging me down? Anxiety, depression, mental illness, physical pain, you name it, is how we grow strong in broken places. And perhaps the reason God won’t take the situation, turmoil, issue, or conflict away when we plea is because He knows it will draw us closer to Him. He still works all things together for our good.
“Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10, The Message Version).
Maybe it is time we start reframing every situation that happens to us and seeing it as a Godsend? Perhaps it is time we invite God into the broken places of our hearts because He has never been afraid of our feelings.
In this shattered place we call home, fallen earth is just a temporary residency. But it is a location that has convinced us we should be ashamed of our emotions if they do not measure up to the perfect par Christian sentiments.
We live in a stigmatized culture paralyzed by the beliefs of those who do not understand our struggles. Taboo topics such as anxiety or depression are often written off with prescriptions of “praying more,” leaving us to find love hidden by religious cliches.
But you can be broken and love Jesus. You can have mental health issues and be actively trusting the Lord. Without a shadow of a doubt, you can go to Christian counseling and be supported by the Church. Certainly, our struggles can be a Godsend if we learn to see them that way.
Today, I am learning to reframe the way that I view the things that happen to me. I am partaking in knowing that even when bad and challenging things happen, God can and will use them for my good. I will declare over my enemies that though I have struggles, Christ within me is far greater than my conflicts. Every circumstance I face is an opportunity for a Godsend.
Because maybe every broken place I have to encounter reminds me why I need God. Maybe God never asked me to be strong or have it all together? He asked me to acknowledge my weakness and learn to lean on Him in difficult times.
When I am weak, Christ is the rock to which I tightly cling. “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26, English Standard Version).
As anxiety floods my soul with exhaustion, I will believe that He strengthens my weary bones. “He helps tired people be strong. He gives power to those without it” (Isaiah 40:29, Easy Read Version).
For even when the storm comes, I will acknowledge that Christ has never left my side. Even if I cannot feel or see Him, I know He is there. And amid the chaos, a Godsend can be present where I least expect to see it.
“You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. The waters saw you, God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed. The clouds poured down water, the heavens resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth. Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked. Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron”(Psalm 77:14-20, New International Version).