Broken for a Purpose


humility-2perfume-bottle-1And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned
that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an
alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she
began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her
head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume.
Luke 7:37-38

broken-alabaster-jarbroken-heartBefore this woman could anoint Jesus’ feet with her perfume, the vial or jar that contained the perfume had to be broken. However, the alabaster jar was not the only thing that was broken in this scriptural story. This woman experienced a broken heart when she realized her sinfulness. Then in gratitude for the forgiveness offered to her by Jesus, she chose to break the vile of perfume and anoint the feet of Jesus. The cost most likely was her life’s savings, yet it saved her life for eternity. In a sense, she may have been prophetically and symbolically preparing Jesus’ body for burial. She may have been one of only a few people who truly understood that the total cost of forgiveness was Jesus’ life. Not only did she anoint Jesus feet with perfume, but she also washed His feet with her tears. I believe her tears came from her broken heart. These tears exuded a fragrance as pleasing to Jesus as the aroma of the perfume from the broken bottle. Listen to a couple of scriptures. First, Psalm 34:18 says, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Then Paul begins II Corinthians 2:15 saying, “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ… We, and the sinful woman, become as fragrant perfume when we are broken of our sinful past.

perfume-bottle-2tears-3The woman’s tears reveal brokenness in two unique ways. First, she was broken because of the remorse she felt for her former life of sin; so she shed tears of sorrow. Next, she cried tears of joy. Although still experiencing brokenness, the woman wept these tears because she realized that she had obtained something she did not deserve. Her tears were mingled with sorrow and gratitude. Psalm 30:5 says, “weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” I have heard it said that we can only be as happy as we have been sad. The height of our joy is determined by the depth of our sorrow. Psalm 56:8 NLT says, “You have collected all my tears in your bottle.” This is amazing to me! The Lord keeps all my tears in a bottle similar to the perfume vial. Personal tears are just as precious to the Lord as costly perfume. May we be aware of the progression of tears beginning as tears of sorrow followed by tears of joy. While one is not possible before the other, both are kept in a bottle by the Lord.

towel-6IMGP4739The woman’s brokenness is further revealed by her wiping Jesus’ feet with her hair. First, she washed His feet with her tears and then she dried them with her hair, not a towel. She gave of herself; she did not just use something handed to her by someone else. She served Jesus by giving of herself. In a sense, her actions were a prophetic portrayal of how Jesus would later wash the feet of His disciples. John 13:4-5 states, “so He got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around His waist. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had wrapped around Him.” After washing their feet, Jesus explained why He had done this by saying in John 13:15-17, I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” Whether it be through actions by the woman or by Jesus, the message is clear that we are to be servants. Again there a progression that is significant for this woman. Restating, first she had to express tears of remorse before she could experience tears of joy. Then her tears of joy led to her desire to serve others. After she had experienced the love of Christ, she wanted to share that love with others around her.

My Reader, we are still called to apply God’s Word to our lives.
Broken hearts and broken vials of perfume
Tears of sorrow and tears of joy retained in God’s blessed bottle
Towels as tokens of ourselves expressing our willingness to be servants
All of these are significant scriptural symbols of our willingness to be broken for a purpose – for God’s purpose. Each of us must have a broken heart before we can serve with our whole heart.

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Raindrops and Rainbows

raindrops-2rainbow-1A few days ago an ordinary experience became an extraordinary enlightenment. The weather had been extremely hot and humid. Finally the rain came. I stood in the doorway watching the rain descend as the air temperature decreased. It was refreshing. I became aware of how high in the sky the raindrops originated. This was certainly not the first time I had watched rain fall, but the point of origin of the rain captured my attention. I knew the raindrops always spilled from the clouds above, but that day they appeared to be the Lord’s teardrops falling from heaven to earth. I was mesmerized by the long liquid lines of rain falling from a point I could not even see. I was reminded of a comment I had recently read in the novel The Looking Glass by Richard Paul Evans,   “I have heard it said of Cork (Ireland) that the sky doesn’t rain, it weeps.” Yes, I interpreted what I was seeing as God weeping. Finally other responsibilities called me away from the door where I was standing as the rain continued to fall. A short time later, nature beckoned me back to the doorway in time for me to see a double rainbow spanning the sky that previously had been filled with raindrops. My thoughts then turned to the promise God made to Noah in Genesis 9:13, “I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.” God was in the raindrops and He was in the rainbows. A double rainbow spoke to me of a double portion of His blessings through His faithfulness. Raindrops and rainbows are part of both the natural and the supernatural realms.

My thoughts go back to my experience with the rain shower There would not have been the atmospheric conditions for the creation of a rainbow if it had not rained. I can make a similar application to my spiritual life. I would not have an appreciation for the blessings of the Lord if I did not encounter difficult situations that cause me to reach out for His help. All of us will experience both sorrow and joy in His presence. Psalm 30:5 says, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Raindrops fall during the dark times and rainbows appear during times of joy. In Desiring God, John Piper  quotes a Minquass proverb saying, “The soul would have no rainbow if the eye had no tears.” We have a greater appreciation for the joyous times when we contrast them to the more difficult times.

Is there any validity to my perceiving natural raindrops as being symbolic of the Lord’s supernatural teardrops? Does God actually weep? In her AnGeL blog, Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Billy and Ruth Graham, has mentioned that her mother once said if there are any tears shed in heaven, they are going to be shed over all the answers to prayer for which no one ever bothered to ask!” It amazes me to think that I might cause God to weep just because I do not take time to lift up prayer requests to Him! Am I causing God to shed teardrops as raindrops rather than allowing Him to create a rainbow of fulfilled promises into someone’s life?

Sometimes we experience rain showers. Sometimes we experience rainbows. Sometimes we experience sunshine. All are needed for plants and people. Ecclesiastes 3:4 states that there is “a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Emotions, like weather, can be hard to forecast and predict. All are part of God’s plan. However, our understanding of weather changes and emotional changes may be different from the Lord’s perspective.  I again quote from The Looking Glass by Richard Paul Evans, “To choose life is to choose sorrow as well as joy, pain as well as pleasure.”  We must remember that the Lord is more concerned about our being holy than our being happy. Or, something we might consider being in the category of sorrow may be in the category of sacred for God. The outcome of these times may not be easy but they will be eternal. May we be aware of how the Lord desires to work in our lives and allow our ordinary experiences to become times of extraordinary enlightenment!

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