Monday, October 24, 2011

Brokenness - Bamboo

This is going to be the first installment of a series that I feel God has led me to write. The topic is brokenness. It is not a popular topic but I fear that is very needful for the church in this time in history. I feel many true Christ followers have let this word slip out of their vocabulary while many who warm the pews have no idea what the word means nor why it is important for them. I want to start out today by sharing a story that always touches me right in the very center of my soul. Some of you have probably heard of it. It was written by Mona Van Brenk Kern. Florence Littauer used it in her book entitled "Lives on the Mend." I hope it grips and convicts you as it does me. BAMBOO There was a beautiful garden in the center of the Magic Kingdom. In the cool of the day, the Master of the garden often walked. Of all the dwellers in the garden, the most beautiful was the noble bamboo tree. Year after year, Bamboo grew more lovely and yet more noble and gracious, conscious of her master's love and watchful eye. One day the Master himself drew near to contemplate his beloved tree, and Bamboo, in the passion of adoration, lowered her lovely head to the ground. The Master spoke, "Bamboo, I am ready to use you." It seemed the day of days had come; the day for which the tree had been made. Bamboo's voice came low, "Master, I am ready. Use me as you will." "Bamboo," the Master's voice was grave, "I must take you and cut you down." "Cut me down? Me, when you, Master, have made me the most beautiful tree in all of your garden? Cut me down? Not that! Use me in your way, dear Master, but do not cut me down! Do what you must!" "Beloved Bamboo, if I do not cut you down, I cannot use you." The garden grew still; even the wind held his breath! Bamboo slowly bent her glorious head. "Master, if you cannot use me as I am, cut me down. Do what you must." "Beloved Bamboo, I must cut your leaves and branches from you, too" "Oh, master, spare me. Lay my beauty in the dust, but don't take my leaves and branches, too!" "Unless I cut them off, I cannot use you." The sun hid his face. A butterfly glided fearfully by, and Bamboo, shivering in expectancy, whispered low, "Master, cut." "Bamboo, I will divide you in two and cut out your heart for if I do not, I cannot use you!" Bamboo, without hesitation, bowed to the ground. "Master, then cut." So did the Master of the garden cut down Bamboo, hack off her branches, strip her leaves, divide her in two, and cut out her heart. He carried her to where there was a spring of fresh, sparkling water in the midst of the Master's dry field, putting one end of the broken Bamboo in the spring and the other end into the channel of his field. The Master gently laid down his beloved tree and the spring sang a welcome. The clear sparkling water raced joyfully down the channel of Bamboo's torn body into the waiting fields. The rice was planted, the days went by, the shoots grew, and the harvest came. Bamboo, once so glorious, was put to use in her brokenness and humility. For in her beauty, she had life abundant for herself, but in her brokenness, she became a channel of love for her Master's world. Mona Van Brenk Kern Bamboo learned that she could trust her Master because in her brokenness, she could best be used by him. Yes, it was hard but her passion for her Master and her desire to be used of him was much greater than any sacrifice she must make. And when the process of brokenness began in Bamboo's life, she found that her Master handled her ever so tenderly. It is still true today. When we want to be used greatly of God, brokenness is required. But, like Bamboo, if we truly want to be used of our Master, we must bend to His will even if it seems harsh. We can trust Him to handle us with great love and tremendous care.

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