the Hope of Survivors

The Broken Sole—Samantha Nelson

The Broken SoleI have a pair of shoes that I’ve worn for years. They are comfortable, worn, casual, broken in—and now they are just plain broken. The soles have literally split in half and, when I walk, I can feel the concrete, rocks or dirt touching my feet. Yet, I still choose to wear them, even though they are truly falling off my feet! Why would I do such a thing? Because they are comfortable—and because the manufacturer no longer makes them—yet the sole is no longer sound. 

This make me think of the verse found in Isaiah 1:6 (KJV), “From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.” Not a very pretty picture is it? Yet it proves that it’s not just the sole of a shoe that breaks at times. It’s our souls that get crushed, broken and worn. We are wounded and bruised by those around us at times, and by circumstances or events in life that create unimaginable—and often unbearable—pain.  

Over the past 12 years, I have had an opportunity to minister to many broken souls either through The Hope of Survivors or at one of our congregations. I’ve observed that, like me with my broken-soled shoe, sometimes people don’t want to let go of something that clearly holds no value to them or is not helpful or healthful for them. I’m not talking about material things here; I’m talking about feelings, thoughts, attitudes, behavior and, sometimes, even people.  

Why do some victims of domestic violence stay with their abusers? One reason is because it’s “comfortable” for them. No, not in a good way, and definitely not in a safe way, but in a way they are accustomed to—a way that seems to be more comfortable to them than the thought of leaving and starting over. It’s sometimes less frightening to face the abuse you’ve known, than to step out into the unknown and begin a new life free of abuse. 

The same thing happens in relationships at times. A woman will date someone who treats her poorly, perhaps belittles her in some way, yet she will either stay with him or find someone else who ends up treating her the same way. Why? Again, it’s what she’s used to experiencing. She doesn’t know any differently. Her soul is crushed and broken and she needs to experience healing. 

How does one overcome such self-destructive behavior? By drawing near and ever nearer to the One who gave all so we might live. This verse in Job 5:18 (KJV) is comforting, “For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole.” Did you catch that? God’s hands make whole! That is the BEST news ever! You don’t have to walk around with a broken soul. You can experience wholeness and newness of life through Jesus. You can claim and experience the promise found in Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” With a promise like that, I’d say it’s worth getting out of our “comfort” zones to risk experiencing a life that only Jesus can provide. What do you say? Are you willing to break out of your comfort zone and allow Jesus to replace your broken thoughts, feelings and behaviors with His? I’m willing—and soon I may be willing to give up my broken-soled shoes too.

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart...Psalms 34:18