When a Dent Means So Much More

It looked like nothing more than a dent in the hood of the car, a cosmetic annoyance perhaps, but not worth paying the deductible on the car insurance to fix.

Deer are so frighteningly erratic and unpredictable.  Some people marvel at their beauty, grazing along the roadside.  I, however, slow down to a crawl and pray frantically, my hands white-knuckled ontodeercrossing the steering wheel and my heart racing every time I see them out my car window.

So, I was thankful for the miracle.  The deer slamming into my husband’s car left only this ugly indentation behind and my husband was unharmed: a too-close encounter with the minimal damage.

We thought that was the end of it.

The next day, though, my husband found the passenger door on the car wouldn’t open, not without unusual effort.

One estimate at the body shop later and we found out the truth.  The deer had caused $1500 worth of damage, most of it underneath the car.  It took a week of repairs to fix the damage from what the insurance company termed a “collision with an animal.”

It’s been more than a month since the deer decided to take a running leap into my husband’s car and I’ve been thinking about it all the while.

….About brokenness and how sometimes we think the surface cracks and minor bumps and dents are all there is.  Yet, that brokenness in me …in you….in those we meet out and about in our lives…reaches deep down.

It’s not just a matter of cosmetic imperfections, dents that can be popped back out or scratches that can be covered over with paint.  When I explode in anger over something or react with a bad attitude, when the slightest hint of jealousy arises, or I say the wrong thing—it just seems like the smallest error.  It’s a bad day.  A minor bout of stress.

But that’s just the sign of true brokenness.  One pass through the Refiner’s fire and all the disgusting contaminants rush to the surface.

Something is at work far deeper in my heart and soul and I can either keep covering up and ignoring the surface manifestations, or I can ask God to “search me and know me” in the hidden places, underneath the hood, revealing the kind of brokenness that only an expert can see and only with a thorough examination (Psalm 139:23).

Or sometimes we ignore the dents and treat them with complacent apathy… not realizing that the marriage that just seems humdrum is really in desperate danger….or the strained relationship that appears mildly tense is truly explosive.  We’re ignoring the signs of brokenness until they’ve reached a devastating magnitude and then when we’re sitting among the rubble and dust, we think, “What happened?  How did I not know?”

So, while it’s painfully annoying to see the surface signs of damage, how much better to ask God to be at work in us, be at work in our marriages and homes, hearts and minds, ministries and jobs, and more, here and now and do the hard work in this very moment.

Then, like Peter wrote, “and the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” (1 Peter 5:10 NIV). 

Peter knew this.  He had a faith that seemed so loud and boisterous, so absolutely strong, and yet he denied Christ three times and discovered out how deep the broken places ran in his soul.

This same Peter tells us that strength and steadfastness, the wholeness and healing, only come after the suffering.  If we skip over it, gloss over it, ignore it, or pretend it isn’t there, then we’ll be too fragile to withstand the greater stress.

…And I’ve been thinking about how we can seem to have it all together with everything perfect and perfectly in place and still be so broken underneath the surface.  There is, after all, no such thing as perfection this side of Christ’s throne.

So it’s safe for all of us to just confess the truth already.  Yes, there’s brokenness in me.  There.  I’ve said it.

And maybe, just maybe, if we all showed that grace to ourselves and that grace for others, we’d allow God to do the healing work.  Then He’d get so much glory—not because we’re faking perfect, but because we’re redeemed by a God who can transform the most broken vessels into clay pots fit for use in the Kingdom.

In her book Sudden Glory, Sharon Jaynes writes, “The puncture wounds of life’s canvas become see through places for Sudden Glory moments.”

Yes, it’s the broken places in us that can let His glory shine through.  But only if we stop resisting His work.  Only if we stop patching the holes.  Only if we pay attention to the scratches and dents and let Him go to work on the hidden brokenness.  That’s when true healing begins.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

3 thoughts on “When a Dent Means So Much More

  1. Tanya Villani says:

    Heather thanks for making something so difficult yet God is right there saying Come to me….learn from me Matthew 11:28. Loved it praise You Lord!
    “Yet it is never God’s will that we should be anything less than absolutely complete in Him.”~Oswald Chambers “Ask, and it will be given to you….” Matthew 7:7

    • Heather C. King says:

      What beautiful verses, Tanya, and I love the quote. We do have a way of complicating the beautiful simplicity of the Gospel, don’t we? I love your reminder to simply depend on him. Thanks for sharing!

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