By Heath Kirkwood
It seems that the last few months have been mostly dominated by brokenness: I have witnessed long-term marriages falling apart, friendships that have been forsaken, anger welling up between fellow congregants, global animosity that is crippling nations and people groups and my own personal bouts with depression.
While my hope that is rooted in Christ has not faded, I’ll admit that I have asked God to show me two specific things: Restoration and renewal. My desire is to see the beautifying process of brokenness leading to restoration and full renewal with my own eyes. To give a foretaste, I was led to a beautiful ending of a tumultuous story:
Isaac breathed his last and died and was gathered to his people, an old man of ripe age; and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him. (Genesis 35:29)
At first glance this could seem morbid, but to the reader who recalls the entire story of this broken family, it is a final breath resulting in restoration and renewal. These two brothers who were archenemies – in part due to the division originated by their father and mother – symbolized their togetherness by coming together to bury their father. The cyclical pattern of the younger son becoming greater than the older was especially the case here as Jacob (“the trickster”) had many years before stolen his brother’s blessing.
Esau’s grudge and premeditated plans for murder were no secret as Jacob was fearful when years after his cowardly departure Esau came to meet him. No one – especially Jacob – expected Esau’s response many years after the initial grudge began to grow: Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. (Genesis 33:4)
As I have watched the effects of brokenness take shape in the lives of real people, including myself, I realized my need to witness the possibility of restoration and renewal. God, knowing my need, led me to this story during one of my Old Testament courses. I realized that hope beyond brokenness needs direction.
What better place to direct hope than towards restoration and renewal? The fact of the matter is that I also need hope when I encounter brokenness, be it someone else’s or my own. Most important, I am finding that when hope is aimed at restoration and renewal, a beautiful ending lies waiting ahead.
Heath Kirkwood is a CBF Leadership Scholar, and is currently pursuing an M.Div. in Biblical Studies & Theology from George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University. He received is B.M.E. and M.M. from the University of Houston and currently serves as the Minister of Worship & Youth at First Baptist Church of Chappell Hill, Texas.