How long does it take to get a soul-satisfying answer from God when the heart is battered and bruised and broken? How long does it take to find out that God really can fill the hungry, yearning, confused and fearful soul with good?
About as long as it takes the soul in need to be broken in spirit. We sang it last week in worship. The Chris Tomlin (Jesse Reeves, and Shawn Craig) song, Mighty is the Power of the Cross. The end of the first verse said it well:
What can fill the emptiness?
What can mend our brokenness?
Yes, that's right. The process to being satisfied, to being satiated with God, to having our hunger filled and our thirst quenched lies in being broken before God. "But," says the wounded, hurting heart, "you don't understand. I am broken. My marriage is broken. My life is a shambles. My body is falling apart. My finances are a joke. Broken. I'm broken."
Please hear me. I don't want to minimize anyone's pain, no matter what their situation, or even the cause of their situation. But the kind of brokenness that is spoken of in Scripture is not our experience of pain. When the Scripture speaks of brokenness it is almost always of a brokenness of spirit over the issue of indwelling sin.
When the soul understands its need, when the individual gives up all pretension and self-justification, when the spirit of a man or woman has given up on trying to "make it work" out of their own wisdom, strength and reason, when the soul has been beaten into submission and has nowhere to look but up--then God is delighted to act in mercy and compassion, then God is strong to save.
This is what David is saying in Psalm 51:17: (ESV)
O God, you will not despise.