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How to Help the Broken

I was wandering around Home Depot by myself (which waspossible plant picture1 altogether a strange feeling, I am not a fix-it-
yourself kind of gal) looking for a small indoor plant to place near my kitchen window.  As I was shopping around, I saw the plant I wanted and reached for it, having to move away a few others to get to it.

A broken fiddle leaf plant, shoved to the middle of the pallet, hiding behind all of the beautiful, flourishing, healthy plants.  Both stems were bent, one was broken, the leaves were torn, and it was the only fiddle leaf fig in all of Home Depot.

I grabbed it and knew I had to have it.  I ran up to the cash register and asked how much it was and the employee brushed me off, offering a huge discount and nearly giving it away because it was so broken and so ugly.

 

A broken fiddle leaf plant, shoved to the middle of the pallet, hiding behind all of the beautiful, flourishing, healthy plants.  Both stems were bent, one was broken, the leaves were torn, and it was the only fiddle leaf fig in all of Home Depot.

 

These past few months I have been studying Genesis.  I had been reading about Hagar, this woman who was a servant to Sarah and was used by Sarah and Abraham to bear their first child.  Hagar, a servant who had no rights of her own and couldn’t refuse being told to go and sleep with someone else’s husband to bear their child (she was more of a victim than a seductress mind you).  She would then be mistreated by Sarai so harshly, she would flee in hiding.

The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.” So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”  (Genesis 16:7-9, 13)

Here this woman, who had no say or rights of her own as a servant, is told to do something and then mistreated by the one who told her to do so.  She runs, in pain, in despair, to hide and flee from her circumstances.  But El Roi, the God who sees, finds her, tenderly cares for her, and tells her to return.

I also couldn’t help but think of Leah.  A woman, who a few chapters later, would be given in marriage by her father, tricking her future husband Jacob into marrying her.  Her father knew he would never get her married off, and so deceived Jacob, put a veil over her face, and sold her off in marriage.

Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. (Genesis 29:17)

Leah’s weak eyes meant she could have possibly been cross-eyed, but quite literally it meant she was unattractive.  Her father knew he would never get her married off, and so she is given away in deceit.

Leah, this woman who was unloved and unlovely, married off through a scheme, so unattractive she was hidden with a veil, living in the shadow of her beautiful younger sister, hated and unwanted.  Leah was so unloved she names 3 of her children out of despair, seeking her husband’s love and affection.

These women, Hagar and Leah, broken, unseen, and unloved, would both be seen by God, found by Him, loved and cared for in an incredible way.  In fact, Leah would give birth to Judah, who would begin the lineage of grace for Jesus our Savior.  This unseen, unloved, and unlovely woman would bring about the birth line of God’s chosen and most beloved Son, Jesus.

 

These women, Hagar and Leah, broken, unseen, and unloved, would both be seen by God, found by Him, loved and cared for in an incredible way.

 

When I saw this broken plant, hiding in the middle of all of the beautiful and flourishing healthy plants, I thought of Hagar and Leah.  This plant preached a sermon to me that day.

In our brokenness, we often feel unseen, unloved, unwanted by God and others.  I realized all this planted needed was a couple of stakes to help it stand, some nourishment, and to be brought into the light.  So it is with those who might be hiding in pain around us, or you yourself.

The way we can really help the broken, the hurting, the unseen, the unloved, the unlovely, the unlovable is to see them.  Find them, see them, help them feel known.  Nourish them with love and grace, be present.  Help them stand when they’re too weak to do so on their own.  Bring them into the light.  Point them to Jesus, tell them about how the The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

Isn’t this what Jesus does for us in our pain, in our shame and hiding, in our feelings of being unknown or unloved?  He sees us; He nourishes us, lavishes us with love and grace, puts a new song in our lives, and brings us into the light.

Go find the Hagars and Leahs in your life, at your workplace, in your neighborhoods, see them, love them, and bring them into the light.

 

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Image Credit: Jerry Goldman. Used with permission.


Melissa Danisi

About

Melissa Danisi is the Co-Founder of Self Talk the Gospel and serves at The Well Community Church, encouraging and equipping women by teaching God’s word and shepherding leaders. Her greatest passion is to see women walk in the freedom of the Gospel and grow in their love of Jesus through the study of Scripture, which led to writing bible studies on Ephesians, Philippians, Sermon on the Mount, Spiritual Disciplines, and most recently Genesis. She recently received her Master’s Degree in “Pastoral Care to Women” from Western Seminary and has been married to her very Italian husband since 2006.


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