By Linda Tancs

Ernest Hemingway once said, “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places.” What does it mean to be strong in the broken places? Everyday life is full of examples. In woodworking, some forms of joinery add toughness and flexibility to a project. In the medical field, a concept known as Wolff’s Law is used to explain why a broken bone seemingly grows stronger after it heals. Think of other instances when the brittle, compromised place becomes strong—“un”broken.

You may be heartbroken over an event in your life: the loss of a companion, a job, an opportunity. The Psalmist reminds us that God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3). Even when there is no change in outward circumstances, the Scriptures remind us that through God’s grace we have the strength to “keep calm and carry on.” For instance, Paul suffered from a “thorn in the flesh” (an unknown malady that might have been of physical or psychological origin) that Paul prayed to be cured, but the Lord reminded him that His strength and power rested most powerfully in Paul’s weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Adversity builds character when we lean on God for direction.

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