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You Need to Walk Through Brokenness Before You Appreciate Grace

Young people these days are growing up in a world overflowing with opportunity and options. Even pain becomes optional. We find ways to numb it or avoid it. As Beth Moore says, “We’ve lost our tolerance for pain and given ourselves to whining.” The irony is that the whining about pain delay…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Young people these days are growing up in a world overflowing with opportunity and options. Even pain becomes optional. We find ways to numb it or avoid it. As Beth Moore says, “We’ve lost our tolerance for pain and given ourselves to whining.”

The irony is that the whining about pain delays the healing of pain. Only by going through the pain do we stop focusing on symptoms and begin addressing the root causes.

God’s intent is that we live free, but it comes at a price. As Paul counsels, “It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom.” Galatians 5:13

The world we’ve created is broken, so we need a journey into brokenness to recover reality. We need to exhaust our own resources and declare bankruptcy. We need to feel emptiness if we are ever to crave filling.

The only way we can ever abdicate control is if we see that a life based on control ends up in brokenness.

What is a parent who loves their child and only wants the best things in life for them to do? Probably the best thing we as parents can do is to allow them to journey to a place where they are bankrupt and in pain and fall at the feet of Jesus.

They grow up as members of the wealthiest generation in the history of the world, and of course they prefer to hang onto their options and resources until the last possible minute.

It’s a struggle as old as time. Read chapter 5 of Galatians – in it you can see that an entire church needs help with it. Anything else but bankruptcy will lead to religion. Any easy prayer besides the prayer of brokenness and desperation will lead to a side door of sin management.
 
We must walk with people into their brokenness before we offer the solution of grace. If we take shortcuts, then we just create religious people who want to know what else they have to do to please God.
 
It is easy to get distracted by the conversation around identity or the need for trust-building. Jesus didn’t waste much time in those conversations. All he wanted to know was if you were ready to sell out and follow him.

Comments (18)

  • I’ve been thinking about this topic quite a lot and to be honest I’ve never really had to deal with lots of pain. I was given a pretty easy childhood chalked full of opportunities. I have been asking Jesus for more of an awareness of how much I need Him. I feel like the more I grow, the more loss I will experience. And mourning that loss is necessary but I also must grasp the opportunity to step into the intimacy the Father is pulling me into, with Him, when loss occurs. I need His grace but I want to be aware, daily, that I need Him. Thanks for this reaffirmation. This generation needs the simple truth you talked about today, myself included.

  • Love this!
    “The only way we can ever abdicate control is if we see that a life based on control ends up in brokenness.”
    Yet we recover and again pick up control and head right back into brokenness. Thank you Seth for this, we need to let our brokenness lead us to dependency not to greater control. ?? T

    • Yes – our brokenness should lead us into dependency. But for many of us, the thing that is breaking IS control. When we’re out of control, we find our way by depending on God instead of what we’ve always relied on in the past.

  • This is awesome!! I recently reacquainted myself with the truth that my journey through brokenness, doubt, fear, and inability to “lose control” was one of the most pivotal moments of my life. Ironically, it happened after the World Race while I was on staff at Adventures. 🙂

    Thank you for providing a space for me to be broken and rediscover the grace and freedom of Jesus.

  • wow Seth…this blog could not have come at better time for me. Thank you. so much truth for me here…hard truth. Hearing that the best thing we can do for our kids is to let them walk into a place where they become bankrupt and find pain…so they will fall to the feet of Jesus! This is so hard, but I also know its so necessary. Giving up control is hard, but I know it messes with God’s plan.

    I love how you say that control leads to brokenness…I can attest to that truth! Thanks for sharing this. Its so helpful to me

  • Seth
    Your words make our daughter’s decision to go on the World Race (Sept 17 Gap Year – P Squad) easier. We have watched her progress this past month and have seen her embrace Brokenness. Had I not already started reading your book I would have wanted to “rescue her” but we know this is where God wants her and we are seeing His Good Work through her already.
    Thank you!

  • That makes me happy to hear, Lisa. I wrote the book for people like you. Thanks for sharing. I pray that she finds intimacy w/ the Lord on the other side of this.

  • All of my adult life I let my son suffer thinking it would make him strong and bring him to Jesus. Well he found God but he hates me. I am not sure I made the right decision. When is ok to help your children without being codependent.

  • Great question, Susan. The goal of not being codependent or raising an entitled son is a good one.

    I’ve found that when a relationship is broken, the only two recourses I have to reconcile are prayer and humility.

  • This has been heavy on my heart for personal reasons…my brother. It’s a scary thing when people are so broken, but continue to walk into darkness. You always have an uneasy feeling….waiting for that late night phone call of bad news. I’ve walked with him…it’s taken me to dirty bars, drug houses, etc., just trying to convince him to walk away from that life. He’s found God a couple times…..but….his inner pain is so great. I don’t even think he does drugs now, anger is his drug. This was well written Seth.

  • “We need to feel emptiness if we are ever to crave filling.” This is so powerful! Emptiness is what led me to wanting to be filled but the opposite is true as well. Now that I have tasted freedom and felt what it is to truly walk with Him, any time I am bound I find myself longing again for that freedom! So I think in some ways this for me might go both ways. The emptiness leads me to Him and then knowing Him makes me want more and nothing less than what I know exists. For so long I was in such darkness that now I am so grateful to know that light exists and that it is available to me!

  • As I entered my 30s, I began to understand that all the pain and trauma in my life held the most powerful purpose. Instead of trying to avoid pain now, I recognize that it is my greatest gift. In the middle of another difficult time of grief, it’s bringing me to an even deeper desperation to sell out and follow Jesus like a complete fool. There’s no other way for me. Today I appreciate GRACE.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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