Read Psalm 51:17
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,O God,you will not despise. (NRSV)
Sometimes we wish we could just start all over again. We may have seen an old home demolished and a new and better home taking its place. But we who live our imperfect lives in service of God are not quite in the same category.
God does not so much demolish us as remake us. Our brokenness becomes,in a way,a new foundation. He doesn’t take away our humanity; he embraces it and seeks to harness it. We do not so much embark on a new journey as make a new beginning on our ongoing journey.
We bring him our brokenness and our fragility,just as David did in these words spoken after his adultery with Bathsheba had been confronted. David did not become perfect: God worked with the raw material he had. He rebuilds our lives fully aware of our brokenness. These lines from a poem by Patricia St. John put it well:
“He seeks no second site on which to build
But on the old foundation,stone by stone,
Cementing sad experience with grace
Fashions a stronger temple of his own.”