A Picture of Brokenness
A picture of brokenness is that of a wild stallion wanting its independence but being ridden for the first time. It does not want to submit, and it does not want to do what it is told to do. It enjoys a cowboy feeding it, keeping its trough filled with fresh water, and allowing it to go out and nibble grass in the sunshine. The problem comes when the saddle is tossed on its back and the harness is placed over its head.
However, if you have watched a horse being broken, you know the cowboy has more sense than to take a new horse that has never been ridden and toss a saddle on its back. For days, the animal may be led around a pen as it adjusts to the pressure of wearing a harness and the conditions surrounding its changing lifestyle. Then the saddle coes out of the tack room and is placed on the horse's back - but without a rider. Finally, the cowboy puts a foot in one of the stirrups.
There are many steps in between these, but we can form a mental picture of the process used to break a horse and prepare it to be ridden. When the cowboy climbs into the saddle, the initial shock of having someone on its back is frightening and irritating. The animal begins to buck and rears its head before it begins to settle and trot around its pen. Some horses refuse to be broken and risk being sold. Others, in time and through proper care, are broken and begin the enjoyment of a lifetime of service to their owners.
When God begins to work in your life, He doesn't immediately toss a saddle on your back or seek to break you through the circumstances of life. Instead, He works with a plan and goal in mind. Bit-by-bit and inch-by-inch, He brings you to a place where He can train you to live a life that glorifies Him and is a blessing to others.