When the World Breaks

When the World Breaks

The world is broken.

I hear this all the time. On Facebook. In news articles. From Christians and non-Christians alike.

And it’s not hard to believe when we hear about places like Brussels and Paris, targeted in terrorist attacks, and when we learn about all the other places we don’t hear about who also suffer attacks. It’s not hard to believe when we see the faces of refugees fleeing violent situations and hear the rhetoric about how they are not welcome here. It’s not hard to believe when politicians are shouting at each other. When no choice seems like a good choice and all we want to do is shout, “Come, Lord Jesus. Come quickly!”

It’s easy to point a finger at all the brokenness in the world. To list it like evidence in a trial. Exhibit A. Exhibit B. Here’s proof.

The world is broken. Few people would argue about that.

My question is: what can we do about it?

One of my favorite musicians, Jason Gray, has a song with these lyrics:

If you want to love someone
Search their soul for where it’s broken
Find the cracks and pour your heart in
If you want to love someone

A newer song of his has these words:

The wound is where the light gets in

We tend to think of a broken thing as something that needs to be fixed. Or something we need to throw away because it is no longer useful or effective.

But what if being broken means there’s an opening? What if a crack is where the light gets through?

We read in the Bible that Light has come into the world and it overcomes darkness. And we know that Jesus calls himself the Light of the World and he tells us to let our lights shine. Light, light, light. We are told to be light and to be like the Light. And yet when the world gets dark–darker than we can imagine–what do we do with that light?

I can’t speak for you, but I know what I do. I want to cover that light with a blanket and hide away until the darkness passes. I want to protect the light and keep it safe because I think it can’t handle the darkness. Or sometimes I want to throw the light in someone’s face, blinding them as if shining a flashlight in their eyes. Can’t you see? There is light!!

But there’s something else I know about light. It’s always looking for a way in.

light breaking through

The sun peeks through the clouds, and the scattered rays that shine through are their own kind of beautiful. We leave a light on in the hallway, or crack the door to the kids’ bedroom to let a little bit of light in to chase away the darkness. A single candle, lit in a dark room, helps us see the shape of things around us. We can walk through a dark room with only a small amount of light.

The world is broken, yes, but there’s a place for the light to get in. Our souls are broken, too, and that’s the opening we need–but don’t always want–to let in light in the form of love or healing.

Broken doesn’t have to be bad. It can be the best thing.

I don’t wish for a broken world or a broken heart or a broken soul. But I believe beauty can come from the broken. I believe we sometimes need the cracks so the light can get in, and when all we can see is brokenness, we should look for the light.

And when all we can see is cracks in a life or a soul, we should pour our light and our love right into those spots.

Maybe we don’t need to mend every crack. Maybe we just need to let the light in.

Lisa Bartelt About Lisa Bartelt

Lisa has been writing stories for more than a decade, first for newspapers and now as a freelancer, blogger and budding novelist. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two kids. Read more at her blog, Beauty on the Backroads.


  1. As usual, you have seen the beauty in a hard topic. And brought it to us with your beautiful words. Thanks for this timely change of perspective.

  2. Lisa,

    What a beautiful post. I agree with this so much!


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