Marriages crumble apart. Disease strikes yet again. Depression and anxiety overtakes once joyful friends. Brokenness is everywhere.
Seeing the brokenness of others weighs heavy on my heart because I know how it feels…like a piece of me fell off and now lies shattered on the ground. I examine the broken pieces over and over again, wondering “how did this happen?” and thinking “these will never go back together again.” “I don’t know what to do!” becomes my daily lament.
Eventually these feeling pass, as God restores like only he can. But my cries never fall on deaf ears, and one day, God answered my lament.
Shortly after a period of feeling broken, God led me to Psalm 6, where I learned how to turn brokenness into joy by following the example of David.
David’s Steps for Turning Brokenness into Joy
1. Pour out your complaints before God.
David tells God exactly what ails him. He complains about being weak (v. 2), sick at heart (v. 3), and worn out by grief (v.6-7).
Friends, let me assure you, God is not put off by our complaints. As Matthew Henry proclaimed, “Wither else should a child go with his complaints, but to his father?”
2. Repent of your sins.
David understood his sinful nature played a role in his current sufferings. He says, “ I am sick at heart. How long, O Lord, until you restore me?” Then he sobbed over his sin all night (v.6).
When you feel broken, examine yourself by asking, where has sin been allowed to reside? Sin likes to hide and even disguise itself, you must go looking for it.
For me, anxiety takes over when I allow fear to reign instead of trust in God. Depression creeps in when I believe the lies of the enemy instead of the truth of God, and my marriage suffers when I foster bitterness and selfishness.
If your brokenness relates to disease or injury, then it may not stem from your sin; but this step remains important because experiencing God’s joy requires repentance.
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,” Acts 3:19 (emphasis added)
3. Begs for God’s favour.
No doubt about it, David feared the wrath of God. He starts the psalm with a plea “O Lord, don’t rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your rage. Have compassion on me, Lord,” (v 1-2a). After laying out his complaints, he begs for favour again, “Return, O Lord, and rescue me. Save me because of your unfailing love.” (v.4).
We can learn a lot from David’s humble approach. He says nothing about deserving to be saved, instead he asks for mercy. God offers compassion, love, grace, and mercy to those who love him. Humbly ask God for these gifts.
“ Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?“ Romans 8:32 (NLT).
4. Be assured of God’s faithfulness.
David concludes his psalm by claiming assurance of God’s response. “The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord will answer my prayer. May all my enemies be disgraced and terrified. May they suddenly turn back in shame.” (v. 9-10).
Can you hear the joy in David’s proclamation? He knows God heard him, and trusts he will act. Therefore, David rejoices in what God will do.
In God’s faithfulness David finds joy, and we can too. Call upon God’s promises and rejoice in his faithfulness.
While David sums up brokenness to joy in 10 short verses, make no mistake, this is not a “4 quick steps to instant joy” plan. Heart change takes time.
Remember, David recalls weeping all night long! It may take you days to get through all four steps (recently it took me 6!), and you may need to go through them again and again.
But through it all, remember the promise of Psalm 126: 5
So keep sowing (seeking God) through the brokenness, and trust your harvest is coming.
Psalm 6 (NLT)
1 O Lord, don’t rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your rage.
2 Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak.
Heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
3 I am sick at heart.
How long, O Lord, until you restore me?
4 Return, O Lord, and rescue me.
Save me because of your unfailing love.
5 For the dead do not remember you.
Who can praise you from the grave?
6 I am worn out from sobbing.
All night I flood my bed with weeping,
drenching it with my tears.
7 My vision is blurred by grief;
my eyes are worn out because of all my enemies.
8 Go away, all you who do evil,
for the Lord has heard my weeping.
9 The Lord has heard my plea;
the Lord will answer my prayer.
10 May all my enemies be disgraced and terrified.
May they suddenly turn back in shame.