Today I was broken. It was just one of those days when I felt about as worthy as gum stuck to my shoe. I felt emotionally challenged and spiritually disconnected. It was just not a good day.
Over a year ago I walked through an art fair. I had never been to one and it was a day when I was feeling exactly this way: emotionally drained and spiritually exhausted. The very first booth that I walked by was the booth of a photographer whose work featured old barns, cornfields, and other country sights I just don’t get to see here in southern California. As I was skimming through some of his prints, I was falling in love with all the various colors in each photo. The photographer approached me and asked if I was enjoying my time at the fair. I answered that I had never been to an art fair before and that his booth was my first stop. He began to tell me that he loves to travel across the country, looking for things like these battered barns, and photographing them. He said, “these old things are run down because nobody needs them anymore, but there is still so much beauty in each one.” Then he pulled out a photo that had been tucked away in a pile. He said, “I was driving down the road when I saw this red barn. I could tell that it had been abandoned for a while. I walked all around it, shooting pictures from various angles and I noticed this! Inside the window is a picture of Jesus. You can see in the picture that someone, kids I’m assuming, was using the barn as target practice, but that painting of Jesus was totally intact. Not a single hole in that painting. Look! Even the window was part of target practice. But that painting was perfect. I had to photograph it.”
I held that picture in my hand and before I knew it, I was asking him how much he was asking in price for his work. I could hear his smile as he said, “That’s the one, huh?” I didn’t even look up at him, I stared at the photo and said, “this is the one.” I paid the photographer, I left his booth and looked towards the rest of the booths lined up for the street fair, then I walked to my car and went home.
I found what I was supposed to get.
I will never forget that day because I remember feeling completely broken. There were many factors that led up to this feeling, but to sum it up: I was broken, and spiritually disconnected.
I felt like the old barn. Worn down, abandoned, still standing, but pierced with injury. But inside the heart of the old barn was Jesus. Untouched, still standing, and perfect. Sometimes it’s so easy to forget who is in the heart of my soul. On the days that I am feeling worn down, abandoned and pierced with injury, there is a perfect love within me.
We all have those days. Nothing particular needs to happen to cause days when we feel like the old barn. Sometimes we just feel that way. Other times there is a specific cause behind our emotional challenge or spiritual disconnect. No matter the cause, we all have felt those days. Everyone, regardless of sex, age or lifestyle, experiences these days. Bad days are not prejudice, everyone has them. But not everyone has a perfect love within them to get them through the bad days.
You do. I do.
As a Christian, we know the go-to scriptures when we’re having a bad day:
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
And many more go-to scriptures that we easily hand out when someone is having a bad day, including ourselves. They are all incredible scriptures and I am so thankful for each and every one. I love knowing that God wanted to make sure we knew and understood that He is here for us on our bad days.
But sometimes, those go-to scriptures aren’t enough. Whether it’s because we know them so well or because it’s the 834th time we’ve heard them, sometimes we read it or say it with the “yeah yeah yeah” kind of attitude. I know I’m guilty of that.
That is when we desperately need to talk to God. When His word is not enough to satisfy our soul, we need to go directly to the author.
The day that I went to the fair was preceded by days when I simply refused to go to God. I couldn’t form words, I couldn’t gather prayer, I just couldn’t go there. But the beautiful thing about God is that He doesn’t need us to speak. He knows our hearts so intimately that when the words are difficult to form, He shapes them for us. God knew what I needed that day. He knew that I need the visual reminder that He is within me.
And He knows exactly what you need, too.
Like that painting inside the worn, abandoned and injured barn, Jesus is perfect in you. He is untouched, unharmed and standing firm. You and I may be worn on the outside, but His perfect love remains unharmed inside of our hearts.
Don’t get discouraged when you are feeling emotionally drained and spiritually challenged…you have a perfect painting of love, strength and grace that is standing firm for you. And even if you can't find the words, He is sitting so close to you, that He hears each thought behind every beat of your heart.
You need only to be still and listen...