What a JOY to lead a workshop at the BASS Church Workers Convention in northern California on March 3.
My class description read:
Discovering God’s Majesty in the Brokenness
of the Children and Adults We Teach
Description: The Man of Sorrows, acquainted with grief pitches His tent in our broken lives. Holiness happens when we encounter Him and feel His embrace in such unwelcome places as addictions, autism, and other disabilities, family strife (including the church family) and the not-so-golden years. Lord, give us Your eyes to see the holiness!
Preparing for the workshop helped me remember that I’m not alone in seeing God in human brokenness – OTHERS have seen Him.
Dale Evans and Roy Rogers recognized their daughter, Robin, as an Angel Unaware, as she taught her family about a loving Heavenly Father through what was labeled in the ‘50’s – mongolism.
Henri Nouwen, an accomplished theologian, met Jesus incarnate, not as a professor at Notre Dame, Yale or Harvard, but as a caregiver to a profoundly-retarded adult named Adam. Henri called the daily acts of bathing, shaving and feeding Adam – holy ground.
Chuck Colson, saw God like never before thanks to a GRANDson named Max. An autism diagnosis rocked the family but the Lord of the Dance triumphed as evidenced in Emily Colson’s Dancing with Max.
Dale and Roy Rogers, Henri Nouwen, Chuck and Emily Colson have beheld His Majesty in the unlikely place called brokenness. They GET IT! Together we can join Job: I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear but now my eye sees You. (Job 42:5)
Elizabeth Barrett Browning got it too, thanks to her years as an invalid. Her following four-liner about holiness provided the perfect opening for my workshop.
Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God
But only he who sees takes off his shoes
The rest sit around and pluck blackberries.
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Do you get it? Can you yet see God in your own wounds or the wounds of others? Be forewarned: You may not see Him right away. For some of us it takes half a century. But thanks to journaling, then writing and publishing my book His Majesty in Brokenness I finally saw what I missed the first time around.
The good news is that my 20/800 acuity for God sightings is sharpening to 20/20. How do I know? Because this past weekend, as I celebrated my 67th birthday, I was able to testify to a roomful of church workers that Creator God makes no mistakes. They (and I) heard me say: His Majesty has woo-ed and won not just my spirit but my once self conscious flesh – so that I can whole-heartedly thank Him for beautifully-imperfect ME.
What about you? Can you, too, thank Him for your’s or another’s beautiful imperfections. If so, I invite you to read the following passage (which assures us of God’s presence and perfect design) and replace the pronouns with your’s or a loved one’s name?
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you.
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day..
Psalm 139:13-16 MSG