Sometimes you cannot fix what you have broken

Sometimes you cannot fix what you have broken

Life is not like a children’s storybook. Things don’t always work out in the end. People don’t always walk off hand in hand living happily ever after. Sinful people living in a sinful world tend to break things and then learn to live with the consequences.

This is not a new idea; you can see it in 1 Kings 12 in the example of Rehoboam. The kingdom of Israel that was so great under King Solomon split into two during the reign of his son Rehoboam. There are a few ways of looking at it. It was the result of God’s judgement on the son of Solomon, and the division of the kingdom was prophesied in advance. But it was also the result of bad leadership from Rehoboam, taking foolish counsel, and then sending a slave master to his opponents instead of learning from his initial mistake. Rehoboam had made terrible decisions and had lost the support of most of the kingdom.

What did Rehoboam do in the circumstances? What every tyrant does. He formed a large army to try to win his kingdom back. If he had not been restrained by the prophet Shemaiah, civil war would have ensued, leading to many deaths. Yet, against the odds, he listened when God told him to stop. After a series of terrible decisions in which he never consulted God, now he listened when God spoke. Civil war was prevented. But the kingdom remained divided; that could not be fixed.

This ancient series of events does mimic what many of us have experienced. Sometimes we have broken something so badly it cannot be fixed. This might be a relationship; after a long series of poor, sinful choices, perhaps that relationship cannot be restored. It might be a criminal issue; perhaps you have committed a crime and spent time in jail. You cannot take it back, however sorry you feel now. It could be any number of things. We are sinful people and we have broken things in our past that have led to problems today. We might live with guilt, with a poor financial situation, with a fractured family, and there is nothing that can be done to make it all better.

There is a need to be realistic here as well as hope. We need to be realistic that sometimes we cannot fix everything this side of heaven. Actions have consequences. God has built that into the world we live in so that we understand something important. Our sinful actions have a cost, a cost that can only be truly paid by Jesus. And even when Jesus has paid for our sins, until he returns, we still live with the consequences of what we have done. It can keep us awake at night.

There is hope. Even Rehoboam, who had shown no inclination to obey God, listened at the last minute. You can too. It is not too late. You can start listening to God, serve him well from today, and look forward to when all our problems are fixed. Sometimes you cannot fix the issues from the past. We will always feel the weight of our sin. But if you trust in Jesus, you can strive to serve him now, and look to the Day when even the things we cannot fix ourselves are perfected.

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