“He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)
God is in to “fixer-uppers.” He likes to fix things. I have a southern heritage, though I was the only one in my immediately family that was born in California. A Louisiana woman and a Mississippi man raised me, and both of my sisters were also Mississippi born and grew up in their younger years in the state of Louisiana. My Dad used to love to say that I was the only “prune picker” in the bunch! I suppose that was a reference to California’s agricultural strength (I really have no idea, but he loved to say it). However, I definitely picked up some of their southern colloquialisms in my speech. One of those was the word fixin’. I was never “about to do” this or that. I was always “fixin’ to do” this or that. It wasn’t until years later that someone in New England, quite amused at the expression, pointed out that it wasn’t a common usage of the word, so far as they knew (which shows you just how little those New Englanders know). If you were raised in a southern home, you know exactly what I mean, and probably even know what it means when your mother told you that you were going to have a dinner with “all the fixin’s”!
Well, God is in to fixin’ too! Like any good parent, He knows kids are going to break things. God had hardly turned His creation over to us and we broke it! We know the story well enough of how our original parents sinned against God, creating a breach in our relationship with Him. However, as catastrophic as this was, God already had a plan in place to fix what man had broken. It would take a masterstroke to fix so broken a world, and, in fact, it would take great sacrifice on God’s part. Some things are costly to repair. That is why Jesus is called the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). We broke the world in which we live and lost ourselves in the process, but Jesus came to heal the broken, as well as “to seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Jesus’ death bridged the gap and healed the rift between holy God and sinful man, and now our broken fellowship with God is restored.
In the latter part of 2013, Pastor Billy Rash of Kern Christian Center in Bakersfield asked my wife and I to plant an extension work in Taft. The vision of Kern Christian Center had always included satellite churches, and so, in February of 2014, West Kern Christian Center was launched. Someone has well said that young churches are like rockets; the largest part of the fuel is used up just getting off the pad! Like most young churches starting in modern America, we struggled in the early days to find our feet.
As I was praying about this one day, God began to speak to me about what we were called to do in this community. He spoke to me about the broken condition, not merely in the world, but in the lives of many believers. Sometimes the brokenness comes from the poor choices and bad decisions of the individual. Sometimes others break us through mishandling when we’re too young and vulnerable to defend ourselves and to naïve to be aware of the damage that is being done. Sometimes people are simply victims of circumstance, and end up being raised by those whose love and care is not equal to that of a lost parent. Too real in our day is the horrific damage that is done by drugs, a grim reaper who robs children of happiness and home, sometimes even crippling their start in life as they struggle with the physical damage done to them in the womb by addicted parents. And not all damage is done when we’re young. This world can continue to inflict its cruel blows to those who have already had set backs in life as they struggle to deal with broken relationships, financial challenges, or even deep depression.
My prayer time that day had started with me asking for help. God’s response concluded with what He wanted me to do to help others. He said He would send in the troops, and then He showed me a wounded, weary, lone soldier coming into view with his helmet slid back, his steps slow and faltering, with his rifle dragging the ground behind him. The Lord said to me, “These are your troops. I’ll send them in by the ones and twos. You’ll need to tend to their wounds.” God has often dealt with the walking wounded, and He loves to heal them, even those whose wounds are self-inflicted. The fact is, God knows a good investment when He sees one. He’s made a career of making much out of broken down lives. Some of His best work was done in the lives of broken men who knew the bitter taste of personal failure. Moses, David, Peter, and Paul the apostle were all at some point in their lives such men, but God so worked in them that their lives became trophies of His grace for all the world to see. This why God is not bothered by broken people. He knows exactly what to do with them, if they’ll allow Him to do the fixin’.
I recently had another conversation with Pastor Billy in his office, and I was surprised to hear what God had said to him when he first planted the church in Bakersfield, nearly 30 years ago. God told him, “Many of my people are broken, and you will have to repair, restore, revive, and ultimately, release them.” God does not want us to live broken lives, but neither is He ashamed of our brokenness. He’ll take our shattered lives and make a masterpiece of grace that will give the promise of happiness, healing, and hope to a broken world.