It was very late as were driving home from an out-of-state trip. Both exhausted, we were desperately trying to keep each other awake. Gavin decided to put on some worship tunes in hopes that belting out some worship to the Lord might revive us. It worked. In more ways than one. As our eyes were awakened, so were our hearts, and God’s presence filled “Rocket” (our children named our mini-van Rocket). And with each mile-marker we passed, we could feel God confirming His great love and faithfulness to us.
Then a song came on, an older song, which took me back. Back to before the repentance. Back to a time when I was unaware of Gavin’s sin and struggles. I remember very vividly the first time we heard it. We were at a youth camp with our students, Gavin was the youth pastor. And the worship leader began playing this song. Now, understand that Gavin had never been one to close his eyes or raise his hands in worship. He never swayed, and rarely sang the words. But as this song began to play, Gavin’s eyes filled with tears. He was, as the words confessed, being sweetly broken. At the time, I had no idea what he was dealing with. What inner turmoil he had been haunted by for years. I remember watching him close his eyes and almost weeping as he listened to the words of this song. It was incredible. And as I looked back and am now aware of his anguish at that time, I found it sad. As I sat in the passenger seat of our mini-van, I was deeply troubled. Sad that Gavin had been tormented by such tremendous sin and shame for years, since childhood, and that he went through it alone. This man I love, who has been completely redeemed and restored through Christ, felt so completely isolated and helpless. He hated who he was and what he was doing but didn’t know how to stop. And I never knew this tremendous war within. And now my heart was being sweetly broken for my husband and the pain that he was in, even in the midst of his sin.
I’m not excusing what he did or saying that it was not painful for me, I was very hurt by the choices Gavin made. But this night, I was hurting for Gavin, not by him. I was hurting that I wasn’t available to him, because of my ignorance of his situation, and he didn’t have someone to talk to. How hard must those years have been? How must he have felt every time he listened to a song about God’s forgiveness? How must he have ached every time he read God’s Word, knowing that he was living in sin? How must he have feared with every fiber of his being that if his secret was known, if anyone found out, he’d lose his wife, his children, his ministry, and his job? It must have been a tremendous burden to him that I cannot even begin to understand. I’m so sad that he felt that way. And as I reminisced of that night, seeing my beloved weeping in pain, I understand why he reacted to this song the way he did. He was ashamed of who he’d become but he was desperately clinging to the cross, begging God to not give up on him. He was sweetly broken…
“To the cross I look, to the cross I cling. Of its suffering I do drink, of its work I do sing. For on it my Savior both bruised and crushed, showed that God is love and God is just.
At the cross You beckon me. You draw me gently to my knees, and I am lost for words, so lost in love, I’m sweetly broken, wholly surrendered.
What a priceless gift, undeserved life have I been given through Christ crucified. You’ve called me out of death. You’ve called me into life. And I was under Your wrath, now through the cross I’m reconciled
In awe of the cross I must confess how wondrous Your redeeming love and how great is Your faithfulness.
At the cross You beckon me. You draw me gently to my knees, and I am lost for words, so lost in love, I’m sweetly broken, wholly surrendered.” (Jeremy Riddle)
I never want him to feel that burden again. To be in a place where he feels alone, helpless, ashamed, or doomed. I want him to walk in freedom and know that Christ has imputed His righteousness to him, and has given him everything he needs for godliness. I want him to see himself as Christ sees him, and to never walk in condemnation. I am confident that Gavin has been redeemed and transformed, and I am so thankful that God allowed him to be sweetly broken.
Walking in Freedom,
Tags: ""sweetly broken"" ""jeremy riddle"" burdens isolation helplessness pain healing
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