Almost every day I get a notification of a new post on a Facebook group for adoptive and foster parents in Texas. Invariably, I read each post, as I have much to learn and want to know what to expect from this process. Occasionally a post will be light and humorous, a few might be encouraging and beautiful, but a large percent are heartbreaking. As I hear over and over, to the point of it being cliche (which makes it no less true), the foster system is broken.
I’m part of another Facebook group, this one about racial reconciliation or racial justice, also with daily notifications. As in the other group, these posts are filled with brokenness: personal stories of lament for the way our brothers and sisters of color have been treated, not just in the 1800s or the 1960s, but in this very year. Our race relations are still broken today.
This world is broken.
I don’t have to recount the horror stories I’ve heard for you to know this. You’ve heard stories of brokenness, too. You might have lived one of those stories.
What do we do with all these stories of brokenness? How do we go on without despair? How do we have any hope?
A prophecy was given in Ezekiel 34:16a about Jesus, the Messiah, saying, “I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick.”
Jesus is our hope for brokenness.
God sees the brokenness, and in the form of a man, came down to bind up the broken. He is a God of restoration, renovation, and renewal. Like a Glorified Fixer Upper (and the reason so many of us love that kind of show in the first place), He takes the broken-down and makes her new.
Look at the Ninevites, described in the book of Jonah as wicked and violent. Would you ever imagine a great and powerful nation, enemies to God’s people, to listen to one reluctant prophet warn them of God’s judgment? Through God’s words, though, they were moved to repentance and change.
What about Nebuchadnezzar, a man who forced, at pain of death by fire, all to bow to his golden statue, an angry, proud man who oppressed others? God used His own unique method of bovine humbling to change the man’s heart completely, causing him to glorify God and stop inflicting suffering on God’s people.
I can’t forget Zaccheus, a tax collector who regularly cheated and stole from people, probably rich or poor, for his own gain. After meeting Jesus, he not only vowed to give back all he had stolen, but four times as much. He even gave half of his possessions to the poor, perhaps the very ones he had once swindled.
After Zaccheus made his announcement, Jesus said, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Lk. 19:10).
I could go on and on describing the stories of others in the Bible who had lived a broken life, broken in sin–people who God made new–people like Rahab, David, Moses, and Paul. If I had only seen it in the Bible, it might take a stretch of faith to believe He would do it today, but I’ve seen Him do it with friends and family I know, and I’ve seen Him bind up my own brokenness and even bring beauty out of the broken pieces–read here for more of that.
Therefore, when I read those posts, and when I see the brokenness in the foster care system myself, I have hope, and I pray hard that God would heal the brokenness I see, believing and knowing that my God is not only fully able to bring restoration but that He desires it Himself more than I do.
Will you pray with me?