I am a big football fan. I often hear announcers describe a defense that gives up yardage but not points as a team that bends but doesn’t break. I think that is often an apt metaphor for our walk with Jesus. In the current season of my journey I have been sharing life with a lot of friends, family and readers who are dealing with a difficult and bumpy road. So I decided to revisit an earlier blog on the topic and add some recently gained insight.

During my occasional iPod devotional series I wrote about a song called Bless the Broken Road by Rascal Flatts Earlier I had written a very personal blog featuring a song by Rascal Flatts called Skin. Bless the Broken Road also became a hit for the group Selah. Here are some of the lyrics.

I set out on a narrow way, many years ago
Hoping I would find true love, along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two, wiped my brow and kept pushing through
I couldn't see how every sign, pointed straight to you

It is so interesting to look back over the landscape of three decades plus of my journey with Jesus. I can see God’s hand in so many events and even heartbreaks in my life. My early church experience was a broken road of legalistic and judgmental Christians who crushed the spirit of a young and fumbling Christian. That experience became the basis of my books. I have found many friends who have shared my journey. C.S. Lewis once said that “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, "What! You too? I thought I was the only one!" Sadly, many of us bear the wounds of dealing with imperfect people in the dysfunctional little gathering we call church. Still, God has blessed that broken road in my life.

The broken road for me included the devastating death of a beloved nephew thirty-three years ago. At that point I was a crossroads in my faith. Turn my back on God or get serious in my pursuit of Him. Along the broken road God brought a man named Wendel Deyo into my life (Wendel now heads up a retreat center in Southern Ohio) . His life challenged me and he helped me stay on the narrow way. That relationship led to my association with Athletes in Action. And while on staff with AIA I met the lovely future Mrs.Burchett. And again, God blessed the broken road.

Every long lost dream, led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart, they were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way, into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you
Yes He did

It is hard to imagine life without Joni. Her cancer has forced me to realize the possibility of that. I am grateful that she is doing really well but I pray I will never again take her for granted. Each day is a precious gift and God has blessed the broken road by deepening our relationship and love.

I think about the years I spent, just passin' through
I'd like to have the time I lost, and give it back to you

I remember with great sadness the years I spent working too much, taking my bride for granted, telling her that the schedule would soon “ease up”. But it rarely did. I really wish I had that time back. I would give it to her in a heartbeat. If I could say one thing to young couples and parents it would be to make time for your mate and your children. It took me too long to realize the hard truth that our schedule reflects our priorities. But somehow Joni hung with me. She had traveled her own broken road and found that God was faithful.

But you just smile and take my hand, you've been there you understand
It's all part of a grander plan, that is comin' true

Every long lost dream, led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart, they were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way, into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

The journey is not easy. Never will be. One of the big mistakes we make as followers of Jesus (in my humble opinion) is making it seem like all troubles are over when you embrace Christianity. That is not in the contract. We will still have problems and heartaches and even tragedies. The guys at TrueFaced continue to challenge, inspire and change me with their insight into God’s word and this path of trusting God. They define the abundant life better than I could even hope to explain it. Here is the definition of abundant life from the TrueFaced Romans CD series.

The abundant life is comparing God's character, faithfulness and ability with my particular circumstances and believing that God's character trumps my circumstance.

Through the death of a nephew, daughter, both parents, an armed invasion robbery and the life-threatening illness to my spouse I have found that statement to be absolutely true. His character, faithfulness and love always trump my circumstance. I especially see that with the benefit of hindsight. God will bless the broken road. King David wrote these words while escaping down a broken road…

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
       he rescues those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18

C.S. Lewis also said that no one ever told him that grief felt so much like fear. Don’t be afraid to continue down the broken road. God will meet you there and together you will make it to the end.

Dave Burchett is an Emmy Award winning television sports director, author, and Christian speaker. He is the author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People and Bring'em Back Alive: A Healing Plan for those Wounded by the Church. You can reply by linking through daveburchett.com.