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February 2nd, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

23 comments (+ Add)

The Other Side of Brokenness

A few years ago, I sat on my back porch with one of our campus pastors who was struggling in his role. It was clear that he may not make it as a campus pastor.

It wasn’t because he wasn’t trying. This guy was bringing his best. And it wasn’t because he didn’t care. No one cared more than he did. This guy simply wasn’t succeeding at producing the right outcomes through his people.

When he asked my advice, I told him that God needed to break him. That obviously wasn’t what he wanted to hear. Through tears he told me that he was pretty sure that he was broken.

I explained that if he was “pretty sure,” then he wasn’t broken. When you are broken, you know for sure you are broken.

Over a series of other painful events, this campus pastor finally reached a place of deep brokenness before God. When many parts of his life fell apart, God started putting them back together. Almost overnight, this pastor became an infinitely better spiritual leader and is leading a campus in a way that truly honors God.

Recently he told a group of people, “You won’t really know the goodness of God until you are totally broken.”

If you are hurting deeply right now, God’s love and power are even more evident on the other side of brokenness.

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  1. 1Avery
    Feb 2, 2010 at 6:35 am

    I think it was A.W. Tozer who said , “God will not use a man greatly until he has hurt him deeply”… I believe that …

    I like how you mentioned the difference beyween “pretty sure” and “definitely” broken… so true…

  2. Feb 2, 2010 at 7:00 am

    I always try to remember that through the hard times I can choose to get bitter or better. I believe that God uses the brokenness of this world to refine us, even though I don’t like it.

    Thank you Craig, the last 5 years have been incredible times of ministry along with incredible times of brokenness. You helped me to refocus on good God’s work in my life. I really needed to read this today. Thank you!

  3. Feb 2, 2010 at 7:00 am

    Thank you for this good word for those of use leading staff that need these kinds of encouragements. We do too don’t we!?! Thank you Craig.

  4. Feb 2, 2010 at 7:54 am

    I thought that when I was by God as an atheist to leave my worldly reaches to serve him that I was broken. I thought that when I had no money for rent and preaching the gospel that I was broken. When my mom unexpectedly passed away, surely I felt broken. After feelung the weight of all of this on top of seeing my dream of a church plant crushed last week, now I know that God has broken me. It took a long time for him to watch me do things on my own so that all I could do was give up and wait on God.

    Craig, I don’t know if people can have what it takes in times of brokeness to have hope except for being surrounded by amazing leaders such as you that are patient and encouraging as you believe in your team to succeed on God’s terms. Thanks for all you do and for not being afraid to share your insight on the hardships of ministry.

  5. Feb 2, 2010 at 8:06 am

    I reckon the question that keeps coming back to me whenever I think of brokenness Craig is “when enough enough?” When or how do you know when you have reached that point of total brokenness? Sort of like Dave above. One thing and then another and it is easy to feel as though you have reached the end. When do you know? Appreciate this post.

  6. Feb 2, 2010 at 9:07 am

    Bill, That’s a great question. Craig seemed to indicate that a person gets to the place of complete or total brokenness. I’m not sure, perhaps that indicates I’m not there yet. I would like to think that the things I have faced have brought me to complete brokenness. Perhaps what I have faced are simply wounds. Maybe it’s because we have a tendency to pull up short when walking through broken times, rather than allowing Him to carry us all the way through a time of complete brokenness.

  7. Feb 2, 2010 at 9:14 am

    This is so true. God cannot begin the building process without the breaking process first!

  8. Feb 2, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Craig, thank you for being so transparent. You have no idea how much you are affecting those in ministry in a positive way.

    Dave your post just messed me up. So many of the things that you mentioned I have been through…I would say that many of us have. I had to get up and leave my deask at my office because the tears starting coming out uncontrollably. I know that I have recently hit that level of “brokeness,” thanks for sharing.

  9. Feb 2, 2010 at 10:33 am

    For so long I resisted being broken not so much because of pride but because of fear. Could I make it through the brokenness? Would it hurt to much? Was I strong eneough?
    Once I realized that through it I actually found more strength because I was relying on God it was a very freeing experience. It’s not about my strength. It’s about His.
    The most recent times of complete brokenness have brought more spiritual growth and reliance in God than any other times in my life to this point.
    Thanks for talking about this Craig!

  10. Feb 2, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    thank you.

  11. Feb 2, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    This is such a deep concept, much like being lost in order to be found. In my own spiritual walk, everything I did was from a need to succeed. It wasn’t that I didn’t love God, but I needed to know He loved me, or so I thought. When I finally experienced failure, it was as though a great burden had been lifted. Now I realize that permission to fail is critical to trust. My willingness to fail, is now balanced by knowing that I am ultimately a winner! Thanks Craig for this opportunity to share. I haven’t seen you since local pastors school in summer 1992. I think I was probably the oldest person there. You were such a refreshing spirit.

  12. Feb 2, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Broken…what a word, what an experience. To completely “BREAK” is to separate, isolate, sever, to destroy the completeness of…so many definitions. I HAVE been completely broken ( about 5 yrs ago) and man IT HURTS but it TRULY HEALS Better than before!!! Yes, It is lonely, it is a place where God takes you and NO ONE in THIS WORLD can help you or restore you, there are NO answers…ONLY GOD (on purpose).

    He is the ONLY one who can shine a way when there is no way. God prunes you back, feeds and waters you slowly, takes you back into the light one day at a time and THEN (before you realize it) You become a Towering OAK…Nothing can take away the roots, power and the strength God ALONE has provided. It is amazing!!! Thanks Craig for this necessary post. We are in a crucial time where it is “Normal” to scatter broken pieces and look for wholeness again in THIS world or through our deeds… Only God provides…

  13. Feb 2, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    [...] The Other Side of Brokenness [...]

  14. Feb 2, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Craig: Thank you so much for your prayers. Great things are on the horizon…I believe it!

    Michael: We are not what our failures and short comings reveal. God is there everytime we fall, even if part of why we fall lies in our reliance on self rather than God. Only after I was willing to give up my dream of seeing our church plant thrive, was I able to be in a place to recognize a new opportunity. When we have nothing left except to turn to God, he never disaapoints. Praying for you man! Hang in there and don’t be afraid of those open conversations from your heart to God’s :)

  15. Feb 2, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Craig and all: one of the reasons I asked the questions I did was because of Dave’s post. I felt for him but did not know what to say. You covered it well. Thanks for teaching me along the way.

  16. Feb 2, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    [...] heart.  His blogs so far this week have been out of this world in relevance to me.  Go here and read [...]

  17. Feb 2, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    [...] “The Other Side of Brokenness” [...]

  18. Feb 3, 2010 at 12:24 am

    Luke 19:41-44. When was the last time I wept for a lost city? town? friend? an honest gut check says that i am far from broken.

  19. Feb 3, 2010 at 12:44 am

    Thank you Craig for opening my eyes to the potential danger of becoming callused.

  20. Feb 3, 2010 at 6:22 am

    Last year I served at an Christian campsite called Attunga ( in the Southern Highlands in Australia. For the first time God challenged me greatly with things from my past. I have a history with asthma & eczema. I’m very allergic to so many things. It’s frustrating. I thought I dealt with it all. But I didn’t. Not at all, actually.

    I locked it up inside my heart & didn’t think about it. God confronted me. It was so painful to unlock that door. He broke me. I cried out to Him about healing. I didn’t wanted to be sick any longer. I had enough. He gave me freedom, and peace of mind.

    The next day, my friend gave me my first horse riding lesson. I didn’t had an allergic reaction. Praise His name! God can turn things around in the blink of an eye. He breaks you for the better. It changed me heaps. He is still breaking me & making me stronger. All I can say: it’s a blessing to know God loves me this much.

    Thanks for this post Craig. Always treasure your words of wisdom.

  21. 23Jerry K
    Jul 6, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    I’m sorry,,, I don’t believe God does the breaking. WE DO. You, me, and everyone else are already broken creatures, what we really need is a loving Savior to come and bind up our wounds and put us back together.

    I know this flies in the face of your suffering theology. However,,,the man on the porch didn’t need broken, he needed put back together, he was already in pieces and you telling him that God needed to break him rubbed salt in his wounds.