Life has its fair share of challenges, and I’ve journeyed through many of them. Broken by doubt, depression, and drugs, I’ve struggled and felt the weight of these burdens. The oppressive cloud of anxiety and fear has overshadowed me many times. Theological doubts have made me question the bedrock of my beliefs. The harsh realities of sudden tragedies, unexpected deaths, and the grueling discomfort of physical pain have further deepened my sense of brokenness. Furthermore, the heart-wrenching experience of watching loved ones battle their own demons, with me feeling powerless to help, has added layers to my struggles. And amid all these external challenges, personal failings and setbacks have pushed me to confront my own frailty head-on.

Me and My Wife: Glue

My 26-year marriage has by no means been immune to these trials either. While I’ve never been shattered by the experience of divorce, the strain and cracks in my marriage have been palpable as Kristie and I limp along together. Through resilience and love, we’ve managed to glue those pieces back together time and again, understanding that perfection is an ongoing journey, not a destination.

Hope: A Double-Edged Sword

Hope, as powerful as it is, has its own set of challenges. It has broken me, especially when things seemed to mend only to shatter all over again. This seems to be a continual theme in my life.

Sin: My Contribution

My actions, stemming from falling on my face through my own sin, have hurt others, amplifying my feelings of brokenness. It is one thing to suffer for doing what is right (1 Pet 3:14), but it’s entirely another thing to be broken because you were a fool. The latter is much harder to live with.

A Broke Father

On top of this, there exists a reality of being broke financially. I know I chose this life, and I wouldn’t choose anything else, but the constant strains of a father and husband attempting to put food on the table, living hand-to-mouth has drained me of so much self-confidence as a leader of the family. I feel like a broken failure so often as I often lean over, with my hands covering my face, wondering why it has to be this hard all the time.

An Unwavering Bond with Christ

The question then arises: Have I considered walking away from Christ? The honest answer is yes. More than once, I’ve found myself knocking on that door, fueled by frustration and despair. So often I call on Someone who waits til the last minute to respond, if there is any response at all. As irrational as it may seem, sometimes my emotions get the better of me, and I think maybe this isn’t true. No, it’s not really an articulated thought, it’s just the feeling that maybe it isn’t real. I don’t think in my mind I’ve ever really said anything quite so irrational. But my heart is more often in the driver’s seat. And if my emotions say He’s not there, fear grips me and squeezes the life out of my faith.

The “No Where Else to Go” Trope

Those of you who know me know how much I hate cliché Christianity. The paths that are dug the deepest, I walk to the side of. I don’t like Christian tropes. Yet here it goes: there is a profound realization that always pulled me back. There’s no place, being, philosophy, rationalization, or hope truer than Him. Despite my wanderings, Christ’s unwavering love and truth have been my anchors. I really don’t have anywhere else to go! Saint Peter’s words to Christ are on point:

‭‭John‬ ‭6‬:‭67‬-‭69‬

“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

You Will Be Broken

James 1:12

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

John 16:33

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Phil. 3:10

“I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.”

1 Pet. 4:12
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”

God has never been coy about the reality of our brokenness. Chronologically, many scholars believe Job was the first book of the Bible ever written. If that is true, think of the significance of the very first canonized word of God has misery as it’s exclusive subject. It’s about the reality of the human bafflement during suffering.

We will be broken. But we will be broken by Christ. He will break us and He is the one we will go to for solace, knowing brokenness is a prerequisite to ultimate redemption. I don’t know why it is orchestrated this way. But my ignorance is the reason I have no where else to go.

The Divine Catch

Psalm 37:23-25 somehow came to me this morning. I was simply going to post it on Facebook with no comment. Then it turned into this blog you are now reading. Typical. Here is the passage:

“The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand. I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.”

This entire Psalm serves as a reminder of the inherent struggles and challenges of the world we inhabit. It acknowledges the very real presence of evil but simultaneously offers solace, emphasizing God’s unwavering support during our darkest hours. It is a testament to the journey of faith, a journey marked by stumbling, falling, and eventually breaking. But it is also marked by being uplifted by His grace.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

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