Cross Words: There’s beauty in brokenness

By Isaiah Pauley

Charles Swindoll says, “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” While I’m no statistician, I’m pretty sure he’s right. At least close.

Nearly a year ago, I graduated high school. As I walked across the stage, Proverbs 16:9 was read. “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps” (NLT). And let me tell you, I’m finding this verse to be true.

I had plans. Godly plans. I had just received a big scholarship to a Christian university. I had just given a graduation speech that escalated quickly in the community. I was being recognized on Walk-FM as a “World Changer.” I had a girlfriend who I genuinely felt God had given me. For the most part, life was good.

To this day, I believe I was walking in God’s plan. And I would’ve happily told you so. I would’ve told you how God was working miracles in my life. I would’ve told you how He was moving. Or maybe I would’ve kept it humbly to myself. But I think you get the point. Because God’s plan was, at the time, obviously beautiful.

Six months later, I was transferring schools, single, and desiring to quit ministry altogether. Why? Not because I was living in sin. Not because I messed something up. God’s plan just wasn’t what I’d expected.

You should’ve seen my response. I was devastated. If you would’ve asked me what I thought about God’s plan, my response would’ve been negative. Wiping tears from my eyes, I would’ve told you how I felt God had given me something only to take it all away. I would’ve questioned whether or not God was moving. I would’ve wondered if God was working any miracles. Because God’s plan was not beautiful. Or was it?

Today, I’m writing about the beauty in brokenness.

I’ve often heard it said, “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.” And it’s kinda true. God is teaching me that His plans are always beautiful. God is always working miracles. He is always moving. Sometimes, it’s just not as obvious.

You see, during the summer of 2018, I confidently claimed God’s moving in my life. I confidently claimed His beautiful plan. Fast-forward to now, and it’s much harder to see. Does beauty really exist in brokenness? Yes. But whether or not you see it depends on your perspective.

I want to show you three beauties in brokenness. They all begin with the letter “P.”

First, let’s talk about presentation. The Apostle Paul writes, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Rom. 12:1 ESV).

When I talk about presentation, I’m talking about surrender. The Bible commands us to present ourselves to God. To give Him our ambitions and dreams. Our goals and plans. And when we’re broken, we’re more likely to present ourselves to God as a living sacrifice.

There’s nothing more beautiful in your life than surrendering your life to God.

Secondly, let’s talk about protection. Whenever something unlikely happens, people are quick to say, “God is protecting you from something.” Although I’m not sure if God is protecting us every single time we’re stuck in traffic, I do believe He protects us more than we know.

Because God knows more than us. News flash! God says, “‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isa. 55:9 ESV). There’s a beautiful thing about brokenness called protection.

I have time for one more. So let’s look at the third beauty in brokenness: production. More specifically, the production of spiritual fruit. After all, fruit doesn’t grow on a plant that’s never pruned. And brokenness is the pruning process that yields production.

Jesus says, “‘Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he [God] takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit’” (John 15:2 ESV).

When we’re broken, we’re growing. And that’s beautiful.

You see, I’m learning to see my brokenness as beautiful. Why? Because God is teaching me to present more of my flesh to His Spirit. He’s protecting me from my own thoughts. And He’s producing spiritual fruit in my life. I hope you can say the same.

There’s beauty in brokenness.

By Isaiah Pauley

Isaiah Pauley is passionate about sharing Jesus in a simple way. Follow the journey of this young pastor at, on Facebook at Isaiah Pauley Page, or on Instagram @isaiahpauley.

Isaiah Pauley is passionate about sharing Jesus in a simple way. Follow the journey of this young pastor at, on Facebook at Isaiah Pauley Page, or on Instagram @isaiahpauley.