I suppose you could say that my body is ‘broken.’ This news came as a huge surprise nearly eight years ago, and to say it was a big disappointment at the time is an understatement. After trying to conceive for nearly a year Amy and I learned that I am infertile. I recognize that this is something that guys don’t normally talk about, although I am not exactly sure why that is. But when my doctor explained to us back then what he would need to do in order to find out why I am the way I am (just find out ‘why,’ mind you, not necessarily ‘fix’ anything), we decided we could live with not knowing.
As a result of my condition it is fair to say that Amy is ‘broken’ too, in that she and I together were not able to have biological children. Things just didn’t happen for us like they seemed to for everyone else, although I have now come to learn that we actually aren’t so special in that regard. Statistics indicate that about 10% of couples experience infertility and some 30 to 40% of that infertility is (at least in part) ‘male-factor.’ So chances are that you (or someone you know) might be ‘broken’ in this way too.
When you think about it we are all ‘broken’ in one way or another. Some physically, some emotionally, some relationally â€“ and all of us in relation to God because of our sin. But what I’ve come to truly understand is that God is really into broken things. He reminds me of my grandfather in that way.
My grandfather had a basement full of old, half-working video cameras and all sorts of recording and electronic equipment. I now realize that he had the money to go out and buy the latest, fancy stuff, but he took pride in patching up and fixing the old broken things instead. He would fiddle with it, tweak it and, invariably, he would get that old junky equipment working again. But one thing he never, ever did â€“ he never threw any of it away. Nothing, I mean nothing, was beyond repair or unusable to him. Every little piece, every little part had some value. What nearly everyone passed off as mere junk he regarded as something with value and potential. In his mind, if you put just the right pieces together, no telling what kind of ‘masterpiece’ you would end up with.
As I look at my family, that has been woven together through the miracle of adoption, I get the profound sense that God, similar to my grandfather, is really into creating ‘masterpieces’ out of the broken things in our lives. All four of my children were adopted and so, by definition, they are all ‘broken’ to some extent. They were born into situations that were in different ways ‘broken’ and chances are they will always have some very natural and normal questions about their origins, their identity and what might have been. In other words, questions about some of the broken things in their past.
But God, in His infinite grace and wisdom, chose not to ignore our desire to love and care for children nor the need of the children we now call ‘ours’ to find a forever family. Instead, he continued to author a story of redemption as He carefully wove our lives together. In the words of the apostle Paul from Romans 8, God was working in every detail of our lives for something good â€“ even, maybe especially, in the broken things. And from those broken things He made something truly beautiful . . . something far beyond anything we could have ever imagined or hoped for.
To be honest, when I first learned that I was infertile I did wonder ‘why.’ Now, years later, as I have seen what God has made and is still fashioning out of the broken things in our lives, I’m just simply thankful.