Jesus welcomed the people, taught them about the Kingdom of God and healed those in need. Luke 9:11
I received healing in many ways, inspiration for the future, courage to face my problems and the assurance that God is with me through it all!.... Read More...

Seeds of the Kingdom

Bursting Forth

by Sue Sainsbury

The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18, NIV

There’s a beautiful tree at Ellel Grange, a Cedar of Lebanon, which has the most extraordinary cones. They’re bigger than normal pine cones, huge and tight, and I find them strangely compelling. Every year at this time I have one on my desk.

This week, I’ve been thinking about what it is to have a crushed spirit. It can happen because of many things: being hurt, or betrayed, or rejected, or when we’re grieving, or even because we’re lacking the rich and lovely affirmation and encouragement about who we are. It’s that sense of something broken deep in our very selves, an ache or loneliness in the most core part of our being.

In particular, it’s that feeling of being empty and in need, looking around everywhere in order to fill the hole and find life. Because our human spirit is the place where we find our true identity, the place where we can feel and follow after the Lord, it’s the deepest sorrow when it gets crushed. It might be described like this: ‘My spirit faints within me, my heart within me is appalled’ (Psalm 143:4).

As I pondered this with God, my eyes were drawn to the cone, and it felt like such a picture of a crushed human spirit, all tight, and locked in, and shut down. Closed.

When we’ve been wounded, it’s so natural to want to protect ourselves, to try and control our lives. Maybe we hide from the world, stay away from people, don’t let anyone get too close, as we try to keep ourselves safe. Or maybe we distract ourselves, live with a bit of unreality, more ‘at home’ creating a picture of ourselves on social media than letting others see the messy reality of who we are. It may feel safe, but it’s not really living, and it’s not really very fruitful. I can almost hear the Lord tapping, asking to be let in that He might breathe life into us afresh.

Over a few days of warm spring sunshine coming through the window, I’ve noticed the cone begin to open - just little cracks at first, up near the stalk. It’s like a parable to me: warmth and light, and life being breathed into a crushed human spirit. It’s like the effect of coming in honesty before God, acknowledging where our hearts feel wounded and sore, and even broken. It’s taking a small step of risk in lifting our faces to Him and recognising our need of Him, rather than the ways we try and make life work ourselves. We are beginning to trust that He’s the only one who truly knows, and He’s the only one who can actually heal us.

Then, today, suddenly, the cone erupted! It burst out of itself and spread a hundred small pieces all over the place. It was very dramatic. All these fragments were always there, the same bits of cone, but it now looks very different to when it was held tightly in place. In terms of the parable, it’s such a picture of the fruitfulness that comes when we let God breath His life into our crushed spirits. All the time we’re trying to hold ourselves together, do what we can to navigate life and keep ourselves safe, we’re tight and controlled, and controlling. But when we allow God into our lives to whisper of His love and bring His healing, it might feel scary because we’re letting go, but the results might be quite surprising. The things that we feel define us might seem rearranged, but whoosh … what opportunities for growth and fulfilled destiny might come!

Sue Sainsbury and her husband, John, have just begun a big, new adventure as part of the leadership team at Ellel Grange, where they are committed to living lives as disciples of Jesus and helping others on their journey with Him.


Sign Up Now

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship. Provided full acknowledgement is made to Seeds of the Kingdom as the source, you are also welcome to use it in a non-commercial way and reproduce it in magazines or other Christian websites. The copyright for any commercial use of the material remains with Ellel Ministries International.