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47 Responses

  1. stu says:

    Headed there too.

  2. Jim says:

    Broken is where there is no fear.

  3. Jim says:

    Broken is where tears of self pity turn to tears of gratitude for no logical reason.

  4. Pineapple Head says:

    2014 is shaping up to be a very challenging year. I can feel it already swelling up in spirit. My mind says, “Hold on tight!” But my heart is saying, “Stay fluid.”

  5. Jim says:

    Broken is a place where God is Big, and everything else is small.

  6. Michael says:


    Amen to #3…very odd how that happens.

  7. Michael says:


    It’s both…at the same time.

  8. Michael says:


    I see you’ve spent time here as more than a tourist…

  9. sarahkwolfe says:

    If only we could learn in complacency and plenty 😉

    I honestly am not sure what to expect for this year. The only sense I have is one of pulling back and wanting to listen and to read and to hear…was just writing about that. Yes, I get the irony.

    Praying for you, and for this community. For wisdom and for grace as we enter a shiny new year. For abundance in our compassion for each other, and for strong patience and gentle diligence in speaking the truth.

  10. stu says:

    God gives beauty for ashes. I mean that in the nuclear sense.

  11. Michael says:


    I think in some ways it’s a mark of God’s favor…a severe mercy.

  12. Xenia says:

    Severe Mercy…. didn’t we used to have a poster here by that name?

  13. Michael says:


    It’s not really ironic…I very much believe that God wants you to write what you hear for the rest of us…but you know that. 🙂

  14. Michael says:


    We did…and she was a great, wise, light for us. 🙂

  15. Jim says:



    On the road to broken, you’re tempted to call God “sir”. In broken, He’s “Father”.

  16. Xenia says:

    On the road to broken, you’re tempted to call God “sir”. In broken, He’s “Father”.

    ^^^ That is really good and also true!

    Michael, great post today.

  17. Michael says:

    Thank you, Xenia…Jim’s making it much better.

  18. Laura Scott says:

    “No one would do anything if we knew what we were in for.” The Milagro Beanfield War

    A great post, Michael. In the waning days of this year the Lord, ever the gentleman, has seen fit to give me some notice that I will be called on to cling to and defend my faith in an area that is particularly tender for me.

    While I do not want to visit that place of being broken once again, I already know what can come of it. And that is something I would not refuse for anything.

    2014 is going to be very interesting. 🙂

  19. gomergirl says:

    Thanks. I think I may print this (and Jim’s word too) and post it in the front of my journal.
    I will take it all as it comes, knowing that it will not be my strength, but His.

  20. Michael says:

    Laura, GG…praying that at the end of 2014 we all have great praise reports.
    He is faithful.

  21. j2theperson says:

    How do you know if you’re really broken and at the point where things will get better? Maybe you’re not even close to being broken and are in for tons more pain and no restoration.

  22. Michael says:


    I don’t know if it’s going to get better…at this point it’s about Who I know and trusting that He is sufficient.

  23. Thanks for the nice pick-me-up J2D2. 🙂

  24. j2theperson says:

    Yeah, I know. It was a warm and fuzzy thought. I’m just bothered by the idea that I have heard many times (although, not from Michael now that I’ve read his comment at 22) that God breaks you or allows you to be broken and when you hit bottom then He blesses you and things get better. I’ve had times when I felt like things couldn’t really be much worse but they did get worse and they lasted longer than I thought I could handle.

  25. Has anybody ever called you J2D2? I hope I came up with that.

    I always get scared reading posts like this. Like, when is God going to break me?!? 2010 was the worst year in the history of ever, but I still didn’t feel broken…just a little hurt. I don’t want to be broken. I do like comfort.

  26. Jim says:


    I stopped commenting when it occurred to me that I’d scare someone if I kept going.

  27. Papias says:

    Been a tough year here as well. Four jobs in 2013.

    I don’t know about broken. I do know the feeling of utter despair.

    Thanks be to God for His faithfulness being shown through myriads of ways.

    “A truly Christian love, either to God or men, is a humble broken-hearted love. The desires of the saints, however earnest, are humble desires. Their hope is a humble hope; and their joy, even when it is unspeakable and full of glory, is a humble broken-hearted joy, and leaves the Christian more poor in spirit, and more like a little child, and more disposed to a universal lowliness of behaviour.”
    ― Jonathan Edwards, The Religious Affections

  28. EricL says:

    Blessings in my brokenness:
    1. A chance to try again
    2. Loving kids who take me as I am and not for what I do
    3. A wife who supports me even though I have failed at numerous business attempts over the last five years.
    4. Food in the kitchen and a roof over our head
    5. A savior whose love is extravagant and not conditional on my performing any ministry
    I remember a prayer meeting I attended years ago where one plain-spoken man prayed aloud, thanking God for the color gray. When I can’t think of anything else to thank Him for, I can always follow that example. Thank you God for gray and green and all the other colors you have blessed us with.

  29. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    2013 was the best of times and yet the worst of times

    I got promoted at my Job
    In Turn it’s been stressful as hell with all the changes in the court system state wide
    I also found myself getting Lukewarm in my walk with God
    I had two nice mini vacations with the family in Minnesota and Palm Springs

    I have commited myself to be a more devout follower of Christ by getting back out there and witnessing/street preaching
    Not allowing certain things before my eyes or ears entertainment wise
    Living at peace as much as possible with others as much as it is within my power.
    eat healthier in the mornings.

  30. j2theperson says:

    Nope, you came up with it first Josh. And I like it. 🙂

  31. pstrmike says:

    I have long since lost the expectation for things to get better when I hit my own definition of “bottom”. I am more appreciative now when things are good, but I have come to embrace the ideal that it is what it is. My hope does not focus so much on things getting better as it does “in Him we live and move and have our being.

    “One of these days, this war is gonna end” Colonel Kilgore, from the movie “Apocalypse Now”.

  32. joyful exile says:

    Thanks, Michael. Your piercing honesty and enduring hope in God in the face of suffering is a gift to me. Here’s to 2014!

  33. In the middle of the fog says:

    For many years I experienced “suffering” of all sorts. I could “out suffer” many people. I learned to have a basically good attitude towards it and endured fairly well over the years. I knew there was a silver lining, that all suffering is a chance for development and we can have joy in the midst of it. It really is true. I’ve had incredible peace and joy in the middle of circumstances that many thought would be my utter undoing. I wouldn’t trade that sweetness of God’s presence and development of perseverance and hope for anything.

    But some seasons can take all that one has learned first hand and turn it on it’s ear. I’m hoping this is only a temporary situation that has me not thinking clearly. Never-the-less, after experiencing a few days of great Christmas joy these past few weeks, I then brushed up against tragedy (murder,) followed by great joy, followed by trauma (a young life thrown way off course,) followed by quiet inner rock solid joy, followed by an emotional earthquake of bad news today.

    I’m exhausted. What is bottom? What is broken? I don’t think I know anymore. My old stories of bad things followed by good things with God showing up loud and clear are wonderful and true; it’s just that it’s not working that way in this season. This season is bi-polar, a roller coaster ride, a yo-yo. It’s unbelievably stressful at times and joyous at others. I guess the good news is the breaks from the bad and the fact that I’m still functioning … barely, but functioning.

    May God help us all to hear Him, to trust Him, and to rest in Him.

  34. “Bit by bit, I’ve realized
    That he was here with me;
    I looked into my father’s eyes.
    My father’s eyes.
    I looked into my father’s eyes.
    My father’s eyes.

    My father’s eyes.
    My father’s eyes.
    I looked into my father’s eyes.
    My father’s eyes. “

    …make your own application, quickly, with feeling

    Much love to you, Michael

  35. In the middle of the fog says:

    Bent Meyer wrote the following and I take comfort in these words:

    “I am reminded of mystery Job was confronted with. He had no idea why the hardship and loss he experienced happened with such overwhelming fury. His community was of no help, yet God was right in His confidence in Job, he would never give up on his creator to find an illusitory god for comfort and an explanation. Job wrestled with God, blamed God, and pleaded with God. He wanted God to end his life, since the pain exceeded what he knew his limited to be. Ultimately he stopped and said, I don’t know. I am a creature of dust and of your mercy! Even my best offerings are reduced to ashes. My eyes have seen this: you are beyond. You cannot be reduced to my capacity to know. I yield to you in every way.”

    Job 42:1-6

    Then Job answered the Lord and said: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. God said earlier, ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Again God earlier said, ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; herefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”[2]

    (Context found at Wartburg Watch here: )

  36. jlo says:


  37. jlo says:

    But hopeful.

  38. PP Vet says:

    Another year of not quite being sure what victory is. But just being here, just showing up, just being present in the kingdom, has to be 99% of it.

  39. I am hoping for good things in 2013, but if bad things happen, oh well, I am used to that.

    Here is the now and what it holds:

    As for man, his days are like grass;
    he flourishes like a flower of the field;
    for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
    and its place knows it no more. (Psalm 103:15-16, ESV)

    Here is the future and some of the hope it really holds;

    And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. (Revelation 21:2-3, ESV)

    Keeping my mind fixed on the “Blessed hope”, helps me to not sweat the let downs of hope here in this wilderness.

  40. Em says:

    i have heard people of my parents’ generation say of their growing up years (The Great Depression): we were poor, but it didn’t bother us because everyone else was in the same boat…
    perhaps, the hardest part of being a Christian under severe trials is not the trial itself, but rather it is the health and prosperity that we see around us? dunno
    the admonition to “be still and know that I AM GOD.” has more to do with being quiet and correctly focused? dunno, tho, do i?

  41. skewed Bob says:

    “but rather it is the health and prosperity that we see around us?”

    Could it our expectations are a bit skewed?

  42. Em says:

    skewed Bob? Perhaps, our skewed expectations, themselves, are the result of our focus?

    glad i could access the thread, my heart aches deeply for the sorrows, – the last two chapters of James’ epistle remind us that this is the way it has to be, but the end is what God is working to – we are so stuck in time – Eternity is going to resolve the mess of time, isn’t it? … James 5:7-20 is worth a re-read…good blessings on this thread for me; i thank all who posted above for the read today

  43. Em says:

    post script – God is not the author of doom and gloom BTW – there is a difference between rising above and denial… er something like that 🙄
    God keep

  44. Tim says:

    Great post.. Good comments from Jim too… Brokenness is a hard place to visit, but necessary to truly learn the sufficiency of God alone..

  45. Noelle says:

    This piece feels like a personal gift to me. Thank you for this expression, Michael.

    P.s. I remember Severe Mercy. She called me Norman & tenderly taught me so much. (Wink)

  46. Xenia says:

    Hello Norman!


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