Occasionally when something appears to break, it isn’t totally destroyed but only altered and can actually become more useful than before. In the movie Cast Away, Tom Hank’s character, Chuck Noland, is trying to break open a coconut with a rock. The rock shatters. Moviegoers can easily see the despair on his face until he realizes he is now holding a sharp-edged blade rather than a bulky blunt rock. His broken rock had become a much more functional tool. It wasn’t broken at all but was instead altered and more useful. Sometimes it breaks enough to be more useful. And sometimes we are it. We become wiser, more sensitive, more understanding, more pliable and more willing to rely completely on God.

I have been surprised to learn how many people have experienced the same brokenness I had. I have been comforted by others before me and have been a comfort to those after me. We all share a common journey and eventually better understand the bends and turns of the paths we have been on. We know that things do break, and we must let healing happen. We learn that God will make it up to us. We read the Psalms now and better understand King David when he wrote “Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again” (Psalm 71:20).

As I drove, I remembered the countless sermons about God reshaping and remolding broken vessels that He would ultimately use for His glory. I remembered all the books I had read about the importance of total submission to God, being broken and humble before Him. I remembered the verses I had memorized since childhood reminding me that Christ came to provide hope and to heal the broken.

I remembered many things during that long quiet drive as my daughters slept in the car. I particularly remember a paraphrase of Matthew 9: 12. It is not the whole who need the healer, but the broken.

Dr. Stenhouse, a professor at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, Calif. has a passion for helping adults in transition.

The Center for Single Parent Family Ministry was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in 2003, led by a Board of Directors and supported by an Advisory Council. Today, we humbly follow where God is leading in order to bring about hope and healing in the lives of single-parents and their children, the modern-day widows and orphans (James 1:27).

Publication date: August 1, 2013