Every person has an Achilles heel. But what is your breaking point?
In the ancient art of sword making, there are two things that force a blade to break. Either the blade does not have the flexibility to bend far enough or it is not able to bend quick enough. The best blades are without a point of vulnerability. However, every human being has a breaking point. The author, Ernest Hemingway concluded, “The world breaks everyone, but some become stronger in the broken places.” A breaking point occurs when we have been worn down by what appears to be insurmountable adversity. We have no more to give and momentarily lose our desire to move forward. It is our darkest hour. And it lurks in the shadows when hope seems to have waned. It does not mean we have abandoned our love for God or that he has forsaken us. Jude the brother of James admonished believers to “Keep yourselves in the love of God…” (Jude 1:21). As followers of Christ, we should never be ashamed or afraid if we experience a breaking point. God is in our breaking point and he wants to transform it into a watershed moment.
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Deep Suffering in Biblical Narratives
Many lovers of God in the New and Old Testaments experienced deep suffering or breaking points. We have to ask God to increase our faith and love for him even in our darkest moments.
- The ancient Israelites experienced deep suffering for their lack of faith. They were exiled many times from their homeland, but God’s steadfast love continued to forgive and restore them.
- After the Prophet Elijah’s life was threatened by the wicked queen Jezebel, he ran for his life and wanted to die. But God called him back to ministry. (I Kings 19)
- Job was utterly devastated by his losses and wondered why he didn’t die in the womb. He lost his wealth, health, family, and status but God restored them all (Job 1-3).
- Ruth and Naomi lost their husbands and became destitute. But through Ruth’s marriage to Boaz, they were restored (Ruth).
- King David was at times overwhelmed by adversity and health issues, but God restored him (Psalms).
- Jesus, the Messiah, experienced exceptional suffering. Jesus’ soul was “…. exceedingly sorrowful even unto death (Matthew 26: 38). He prayed to his Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, “My Father, if it is possible may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will but as you will” (Matthew 26:39, 26:42). The scriptures describe, Jesus’ anguish at the Mount of Olives and his sweat was as “great drops of blood” – (extreme anxiety) (Luke 22:44).
During the pandemic, some have reached a mental health breaking point. In record numbers, individuals are experiencing depression, anxiety, and pandemic fatigue. Pandemic fatigue is a type of burnout from being both overwhelmed and hypervigilant. As Christians, we should pray for a peace that transcends the storms of life. But when we experience a deluge, God is our restorer. He is the healer of our brokenness. He is the hope in our disillusionment. He is the strength in our resilience (Proverbs 24:16). He is the perseverance in our faith.
Thriving During a Breaking Point
The best way to thrive during a breaking point is to remain connected to God (John 15:5). Seek comfort in him and be gentle with yourself. You might also need to seek a qualified Christian mental health professional.
Here are a few suggestions for growing spiritually. Start your day by renewing your mind with verses that restore hope like the following:
- Isaiah 40:31 “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.”
- Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: Because he trusteth in thee.”
- Psalms 34:4 “I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”
- Jeremiah 30:17 “For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord…”
Engage in a study of scriptures that talk about God’s love for you or address issues in which you struggle. Create a spiritual journal and reflect upon Bible verses that comfort and speak to your heart. The whole Bible is his love letter to us. And as we study, we should ask God to remove anything that keeps us from growing closer to him.
When spiraling into deep despair, talk to God and ask others to pray for you. Sometimes our burdens are so heavy we struggle to pray. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us when we don’t even know what we should pray (Rom. 8:26). Pray to be embraced and imbued with God’s love. In his love, we find peace. Paul’s blessing to the church in Ephesus is heartwarming. We can ask God for that type of love (Ephesians 3:17-19):
- Ask God to “let your roots go deep into the soil of his marvelous love.”
- Ask him for “the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high and how deep his love really is.”
- Ask God to help you “experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it.”
What a Breaking Point Does
When God is in the breaking point it can lead to transformation. It can open us up to God’s wisdom. It can show us our vulnerabilities and areas that need healing. It can lead us in a new direction and to healthier relationships. A breaking point can reveal God’s abiding love for us. A breaking point can teach us how to love others through forgiveness. It can build hope and impenetrable courage that stands for truth.
In Conclusion, some believers who face extreme suffering or persecution have experienced breaking points. And others have perhaps come dangerously close to a breaking point. However, Psalm 34:8 says, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” He loves us and wants to strengthen our faith. So we put back on the armor of God and continue the good fight (Eph.6:10-18). David eloquently exclaims, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him” (Psalms 28:7).
The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2004). New York: American Bible Society.