Tuesday, May 8, 2012


“…A broken and repentant heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17b

As a child I demanded my way. One day I stood before the principal of my missionary boarding school confused and fearful. My world at thirteen years old was spinning out of control. “You’re not sweet like you used to be,” my friend Jackie told me. A teacher informed me I was insubordinate. Now I was being summoned to see the principal. “If you don’t change we will have to expel you,” Mr. Hay said soberly. Violence and an angry disposition were what had brought me to this place. Getting alone I sat in disbelief. It was the first time to face my rebellious nature. Please, God, change me, I begged. I was truly broken. It felt terrible. That was the beginning of many incidents of becoming more and more broken and repentant of my sinful selfish nature.

Among my Muslim friends over the years I have witnessed many fighting rebellious spirits, angry and fuming and obsessed about injustices or insults and swearing to get revenge whether it is with a family member, mother-in-law, friend, government, or religious authority figure. I have seen women shake their fists at God and tell Him off. At the slightest offence or provocation some cut off communication with friends. One lady’s rage was so unbridled she poured chemicals on someone’s tree to make it die. Sometimes it’s more about inflated pride and ego than rebellion. Yikes – that is starting to resemble me.

If I had not walked through my own journey of becoming broken and recognizing my need to surrender self I would be harsh and judgmental of what I see in some of my Muslim friends’ lives. But I remember what I am like. It was 1978 and we had just finished Candidate School with TEAM and were looking forward to serving in Pakistan. But first there was a humbling process to walk through. I sat before the director who relayed  a summary of what people had said who were used as references. It took me three days to recover from the shock of the negative points exposed which I wasn’t aware of. It was a time of necessary brokenness. In 1988 when we left Pakistan another summary was made. Again more difficult information to absorb was heard. Ouch! Then there was a friend who said, “Joy, you are so opinionated.” Really? Yes, more brokenness was still needed. On and on it goes. It never seems to end. Everything screams in me to defend and justify myself. But I have discovered that brokenness and repentance which result in self being emptied and room being made for the glorious presence of God is the gateway to a powerful ministry and so I surrender to being tamed. When we become humbled, broken, and surrendered a soft sweet tenderness glows out of our broken and then mended spirits which have been made whole. We are like wild horses which have been tamed and now enjoyed by people. We give control over to Jesus and He transforms us into beautiful and useful evangelists to Muslims.

Dear heavenly Father, please bring beauty out of my brokenness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.