The Broken Chair


The dining table and chairs that grace our home have seen A LOT. The set has belonged to some member of Daddy’s family since the 1930’s. It’s the table I grew up at, so it tickles my heart to see my babies’ smiles bobbing above it.

It’s seen everyday breakfasts, lunches and suppers. It’s hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter feasts. It’s even held up under the pressure of tax returns and final exams.

It’s bore witness to 9 decades of “progress”, enduring the weight of change and birthdays and anniversaries. Surely it’s been the congregating piece for countless conversations, perhaps even a squabble or two.

Yes, our beloved table and chairs have been through a lot. Sure wish they could talk. I’d love to hear stories of days gone by and learn more of family I never knew.

Some may see just an old wooden table set in need of repair but to me, it is so much more. It’s like a member of the family.

A few summers ago, Momma and I gave it a little TLC and painted it. I was hesitant and put the task off for years, afraid the sanding would remove more than just the scratches and the paint would cover more than the dings. I was afraid it would lose its character, its history, but what it actually did was give a renewed spunk.

And I loved it even more.

Now, one of the chairs is broken. And I mean BROKEN. Like, Daddy can’t even fix it. This repair will require the skilled hands of a wooden furniture repairman as one of the legs has splintered and come completely off.

Of course, I keep the broken chair around the table with all the others. It just looks strange without it, like it’s missing a limb. The chair sits proudly in place, sporting an index-card sign that reads “I’m Broken,” with a little frowny face to finish it off.

Without the sign, the broken chair looks just like the others–until you try to slide it from under the table. WHACK! The broken leg smacks the wood floor with a crash, startling everyone. So whenever guests join us at the table, into the closet it goes to be replaced with a newer, sturdier wooden chair. But when the party is over, it comes right back out to resume its position.

As I walked past that chair this morning, I wondered what that must feel like.  To be put away instead of being used. To be replaced by one stronger. To miss all the fun. To no longer serve your purpose.

I’ve definitely felt broken a time or two in my life, and when I think back to those times, I guess I wasn’t really useful either.

Whether a trial beyond our control or the burden of unconfessed sin, brokenness hurts and causes us to miss out on things: Celebrations and joy; serving or supporting someone; everyday life.

Like the chair, we, too, lose our purpose. We may still fill our place or position, but we bear a frowny face or make a loud commotion that startles others.

Without help, we eventually find ourselves marked with a “Broken” sign, alone in a dark closet.

Fortunately, we can do something about our brokenness that my chair cannot: We can take ourselves to the Master Craftsman for repair.

Nothing is beyond His wisdom. His skilled hands mend our brokenness with precision and love. He replaces our missing parts with His power and reinforces our weak spots with His embrace.

But we–as individuals and as a nation–must seek His help; willingly lay our broken pieces before Him and ask for redemption and restoration.

We cannot be afraid of the process, painful and humbling as it is. Sanding smooths our rough patches and paint gives new life.

And, we just might find that He loves and uses us even more than before.


“…Then if My people will humble themselves and pray, and search for Me, and turn from their wicked (broken) ways, I will hear them from heaven and forgive their sins and heal (repair) their land.”  ~2 Chronicles 7:14

“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and make me willing to obey You. Then I will teach Your ways to other sinners, and they–guilty like me–will repent and return to You.” ~Psalm 51:12-13

“It is a broken spirit You want–remorse and penitence. A broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not ignore.” ~Psalm 51:17

“I will…transform her Valley of Troubles into a Door of Hope. She will respond to Me there, singing with joy as in days long ago…” ~Hosea 2:15


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