Does God Cause Our Brokenness?

This is Day 14 of my Write 31 Days series for 2017: 31 Days of Kintsugi.
For an index of all the posts in the series, please click here.

lonely girl

Yesterday we looked a little bit at the paradox of Kintsugi- that while brokenness is not something we should seek or create, God can create a beauty from brokenness that cannot be found in the whole or the pristine.

Today we are going to look briefly at two stories to explore that further.

The first comes in John 9:

“As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth.  “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “Why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”
“It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.”  (John 9:1-3 NLT)

The second comes shortly after it in John 11:

“The two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.” But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days.”  (John 11:3-6 NLT)

Both of these passages are setting the scene for the miracles that are to follow- the healing of the blind man and the raising of Lazarus from the dead- but they raise some interesting questions:

  • Did God cause the man to be born blind in order to show his power?
  • Did Jesus deliberately wait until Lazarus’s situation had worsened in order to reveal God’s glory by healing him not just from sickness, but from death?

In other words, does God deliberately cause or allow brokenness in order that he might create Kintsugi?

I don’t have a great answer to that question.  I think the best I can come up with is: I don’t know; maybe sometimes, but definitely not always.  As I said yesterday, surely there is enough brokenness to work with in the world without deliberately creating it.

And when we’re suffering and broken, “why” is not usually the most helpful question to ask.  Sometimes the cause of our brokenness is obviously caused by our own bad choices or other people’s sin, but we can still be left questioning why God allowed it.  Other times there is no rhyme or reason to it at all and, while it’s natural to want to understand,  searching for the reason can consume valuable energy we could better use moving forward.

So, rather than a direct answer to the question (which I don’t have), here are some truths that I find it helpful to remember:

God is ultimately sovereign: “The Lord has made the heavens his throne; from there he rules over everything.”  (Psalm 103:19 NLT)  He is not standing by, watching us suffer, powerless to stop it.

Suffering is part of living in a broken world and we all experience it in one way or another.  God never promises a pain-free life, but he promises to be with us and assures us that his power is greater: “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33 NLT)

God cares about our suffering:  Jesus wept at Lazarus’s grave, and David says of God: “You keep track of all my sorrows.  You have collected all my tears in your bottle.  You have recorded each one in your book.”  (Psalm 56:8 NLT)  He does not stand aloof and disinterested in our suffering; he cares deeply.

Jesus experienced the brokenness of the world for himself, so he understands: “He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.”  (Isaiah 53:3 NLT)

He paid the ultimate price that our brokenness might be made whole: “He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.  He was beaten so we could be whole.  He was whipped so we could be healed.”  (Isaiah 53:5 NLT)

God’s ultimate plan for us does not include brokenness: I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!””  (Revelation 21:3-5 NLT) 

I don’t think we will ever fully understand the “why” of brokenness, but we can hold to the truth of a God who sees and cares, and who has power to restore.

31 Days of Kintsugi button




18 thoughts on “Does God Cause Our Brokenness?

  1. Great post, Lesley.

    After a truly horrible day of pain and worse, I do not see God causing this. As an indication of His Glory it’s a dead loss, and if He would be wanting this ordeal to bring me closer to him…well, you don’t train a horse by beating the poor thing to death.

    Cancer is the offspring of sin, and of a broken world. If God would override that, He’d be negating Himself; the broken-ness of the world requires us to have faith. If He’d just fix it because I’m a good little Christian, free will and the choice to follow Him would be absolutely irrelevant.

    That said, I do blieve that miracles happen, but that they are meant to serve a larger agenda (and I think the NT bears me out). The recipient is fortunate, but the healing was not about him; it was to teach a lesson to a wider audience.

    Yes, God admonished a leper to tell no one of his healing…but I strongly suspected that He knew the chap would tell EVERYONE.


    1. Thanks, Andrew! I agree, I don’t think God caused your pain. I think you express well what it means to live in a broken world. I see miracles as a foretaste of heaven. Then everything will be completely healed and restored but God gives us glimpses of it now, and often, as you say, it is to reveal something to the person or others. Yes, I bet it was impossible for the leper to keep quiet!


  2. Lisa, you raise an interesting question. It goes with what I have been asking lately, are we ever whole in this earthly life? I love how you pointed us to God’s character, which is always good. Have a blessed Saturday. If I missed your FMF post, I am sorry. I have enjoyed reading the two I found these past couple days.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Julie- yours is a good question too! I haven’t taken part in FMF the last couple of weeks because of the series I’m doing. I’ve also been away both weekends. I might take part next week if I can make the word fit. Look forward to catching up with your posts once I’m home.


  3. Since there is so much brokenness in the world, why didn’t he choose my brokenness to show his power to man? How many healings went undocumented in His day? Are we responsible now to testify of his power to man?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting questions! I think God can use all our brokenness to show his power to others. 2 Corithians 4 talks about us having treasure in jars of clay so that it is clear the power we have is from God and not from ourselves.
      No idea about the healings- I’m sure there were many more than the Bible records.
      And yes, I think we are responsible to testify about God’s power and share what he has done for us.


  4. “…searching for the reason can consume valuable energy we could better use moving forward.”

    This is true, and I think whether or not someone dwells on the “why” is a big indicator of how well he/she will be able to deal with suffering. Some things just are. They are painful. We may never understand. There comes a point when we have to lift our hands to God and say, “I trust You.”

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Great post, really helpful. I agree with you. There’s a certain inevitability about living in a broken world. Broken stuff will happen. It’s the law of physics. But while God doesn’t cause it, he gets it. And he’s there in the mess with us to comfort and help.

    Liked by 1 person

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