One of the hardest things I have to learn to accept as I grew in my Christian life was that in order to change from the old man I used to be to the new man I want to be, things have to be broken. It seems to be that way in everything.
We have an old Winnebago that my wife and daughter bought that we have been fixing up. One big issue is the old felt channels that the window glass slid in and seal the window. The only way to get the glass and the old channel out is to break the frame apart by removing the rivets that hold the frame joint together on one side of the window. After you grind off the rivet heads and pull them out you can then separate the metal frame at the joint so the glass and then the old channel can be taken out. After a thorough scraping and cleaning you can put the new channel in, insert the glass, and then re-rivet or epoxy the frame joint back together. But if you don’t break it, you can’t fix it.
God has to do the same with us, yet we resist being broken so we can be fixed. I used to consider that the Pentecostal/Charismatic problem. We want to get prayed for, claim a healing, and everything is better. No struggle, no pain, no breaking. Now to be honest, God does sometimes work miracles and people are instantly changed and some difficult problem is fixed. But that is extremely rare and definitely the exception and it is by God’s own choice. However, the normal growth process of Christian discipleship is similar to fixing the window on the old Winnebago. It is a time consuming process that requires breaking and scraping to clean up the mess and then it can be fixed to work like new.
Maybe I can’t blame anyone, but if we could we would all take the miracle solution and not just one time, but every time we advanced in our discipleship. However it doesn’t work that way and instead appears to progress on the same principle as most physical training: “No pain, no gain!” Why is that so? I can think of a few reasons, such as the result is ever so more precious when it is accomplished because a price has been paid. It also makes us an intimate part of the process, not just a passive observer. We also see and feel the real cost sin and brokenness takes to reverse.
I had avoided bringing up the hard scripture, but I don’t think I can sidestep it, since it explains it very directly. Hebrews 12: 4-12.
4In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not take lightly the discipline of the Lord, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you. 6For the Lord disciplines the one He loves,and He chastises every son He receives.” 7Endure suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you do not experience discipline like everyone else, then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Furthermore, we have all had earthly fathers who disciplined us, and we respected them. Should we not much more submit to the Father of our spirits and live? 10Our fathers disciplined us for a short time as they thought best, but God disciplines us for our good, so that we may share in His holiness. 11No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields a harvest of righteousness and peace to those who have been trained by it. 12Therefore strengthen your limp hands and weak knees. 13Make straight paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”
As you can see, no pain, no gain. Even with God. You have to break it to fix it.
P.S. Admittedly I am using a lesson common definition of “breaking” but it still mean removing it from service, taking it apart, and replacing whatever needs replacing. In a worse case scenario, it would involve complete replacement of that item with a new one and I believe that when God does a miracle fix, that is what he does…you get a pristine replacement or maybe the original is brought back to original specs. Either way it is not just reconditioned; it is effectively brand new.