It was only supposed to take a moment. I would walk across the street—change my shoes—and then get back to being Michaelangelo the ninja turtle.
Just as I was putting on my left shoe, I heard the most terrible scream of pain coming from across the street. My compadre, Raphael the ninja turtle, had fallen from the rafters in his garage and hit the hard pavement. Game over. Shredder wins. My buddy gets hauled off to the hospital to fix his broken bone.
I learned at an early age that when you stand next to a dude with a broken bone all you hear are screams. Playing his favorite song as he is driven to the hospital doesn’t quiet the shrieks. Neither do my always funny jokes.
The same is true when the Lord—because of our sin—breaks our bones. In such a situation you can no longer hear “joy and gladness”. All you hear are the wails of a broken spirit. Your vision is cloudy and your ears are deaf to joy.
This is why the prayer and longing of David in Psalm 51:8 is so sweet.
“Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you’ve broken rejoice.”
From the very spot that once produced howls of mourning are now sweet songs of the Savior’s grace. For God has cleansed. God has healed. The deepest sin is met with redemption in the full. And when grace meets brokenness—grace always wins.
Then the ear awakens.
The song of sadness is drowned by the joy of pardon. As Spurgeon once noted, “joy of pardon has a voice louder than the voice of sin”. And so somehow—where the deepest pain and brokenness was once felt—is now a spot of rejoicing.
Sometimes we are in the midst of Psalm 51. Our ears are blocked, our hearts are broken, our bones ache. And yet even in this place is a spark of joy because we know that God will not despise such a broken and contrite heart. We know that some day we’ll hear the song again. In these times we plead with the Lord to cause our broken bones to cry out his praise. And we plead that the Lord will give us—the very one that is broken—the ears to hear this sweet song of redemption.
Sometimes we can hear the song. In these times let us never forget what it was like to be deaf to gladness. Let us not over shallow counsel and quick comfort. Broken bones take time to heal. And they take a miracle to sing. Let us wait with our broken brothers and sisters and plead on their behalf that the Lord would sing a song of grace. And let us too—have ears to hear the song of rescue.
Open your ears brothers and sisters. All around us are broken bones that are singing a song that is louder than even the deepest of pain.