Better Broken than Crushed

What would your decision be if you were presented with the following choice: “Would you rather be broken or crushed?”

Mine would be “option C.”

I mean, really?! Broken or crushed. What kind of choice is that?

Well… actually…

It was the choice Jesus presented to the chief priests and the elders in Jerusalem as he was completing his ministry.

Those priests and elders were not in a particularly receptive mood as Jesus entered Jerusalem. Though the crowds sung praises, and spread their cloaks on the road for Jesus, the religious leaders refused to believe.

While the children sang “Hosanna to the Son of David,” the priests and elders simply got angry. Up in arms, they took Jesus to task. And Jesus responded with the choice.

“Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the Scriptures:

The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
the Lord has done this,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

‘Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed'” (Matthew 21:42-44, NIV).

So what about you? After hearing that, wouldn’t you agree it would be much better to be broken than crushed?

Fall on Jesus in faith, broken by your sins, and he will heal you.

Don’t fall on Jesus, because you’re too proud, or too busy, or too preoccupied, or simply determined to remain unbroken… then, please, please hear Jesus’ clear warning.

Lord, Jesus, my sinful nature is so strong. In my own heart, I’m often just like the priests and elders. Instead of trusting you and embracing your promises of healing and forgiveness, in pride or in fear I reject them. I don’t want to be crushed, even though that’s what I deserve. I am broken by my sins. Send your Spirit, so that my cold heart becomes a heart willing to fall on you in faith, and be healed.

Our Bible reading for Monday, February 2, is Job 25:1 – 29:25, Matthew 21:33 – 22:14 and Psalm 18:7-15.

Header image based on "Glass" by Belli, CC by 2.0

Anguish

Anguish is defined by Merriam-Webster as “extreme pain, distress or anxiety.”

You’ve been there. So have I.

We experience a loss. Maybe it’s a loved one, or a treasured possession, or a capability we once possessed. It’s painful.

We come under attack. Perhaps it’s an attack on our health by a disease or injury. Maybe it’s a personal attack by someone from whom we expect support. That’s distressing.

We face difficult challenges that lie ahead. They may seem insurmountable. Defeat looms, rather than victory. In the place of glory, shame hovers. The situation is most definitely anxiety-producing.

What’s the best way to handle anguish? I highly recommend David’s way.

He trusted God’s power to sooth his anguish. He leaned on God’s authority to address issues and provide healing, according to his will. Most of all, no matter what situation was creating his pain, distress or anxiety, David looked to God for unfailing love.

“Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long? Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love” (Psalm 6:2-4, NIV).

Lord, you are in control of the entire universe, and you love me. Please grant me relief of my anguish, according to your will, Lord. May this pain and distress draw me closer to you. May my anxiety make me a more faithful pray-er.

Our Bible reading for Wednesday, January 7, is Genesis 14:1 – 16:16, Matthew 5:43 – 6:24 and Psalm 6:1-10.

Header image based on "anguished..." by Aoyama, CC by 2.0

God’s Rapt Attention

At what point exactly is God paying closest attention to you? Does he get revved up and focused when he sees your successes? Of course!

But interestingly, the One who counts and names the stars will focus on you most when you are brokenhearted and wounded. Our very great and powerful God, who knows everything—everything!—will hone in on you when you are in the humblest and lowliest of situations.

Why? Because he wants you to be healed. And he wants you to be shielded from harm.

At times like that, we may feel like God has his back turned. But never is God more attentive to us than when we’re hurting. Because this is what God does best!

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. The Lord sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground” (Psalm 147:3-6, NIV).

Our reading for Christmas Eve 2014 is Zephaniah 1:1 – 3:20, Psalm 147:1-6, Proverbs 30:18-19 and Revelation 14:1-20.