Here's what a Methodist minister had to say about it:
Reflection on the Scriptures: Broken Bones—God Pleads for us to Return to Him (given by Jinn Fuller Renfro)
"I've been thinking this week about adversity. During Communion last Sunday, I read the 51st Psalm. In some translations, this Psalm includes a note that it was written after the prophet Nathan confronted David over his adultery with Bathsheba. I was particularly struck by this phrase: "Let the bones you have broken rejoice." What is David talking about here? He made the choice. He committed the sin. Why is he talking about God breaking his bones? Is he crazy? He brought his grief on himself. It wasn't God who broke him; he did that himself.
I don't think I'm alone in disliking the idea that God might bring grief and adversity into my life. I would rather think that my sufferings are the work of the Evil One, or that I brought my troubles on myself through rejecting the Light and embracing the Dark. And, I think, both these things are true. There are Dark Powers in the world. Job's story makes a lot of sense to me—my faith being tested by outside forces of Darkness and God allowing me the free choice about how I respond in adversity. And then there's the fact that I do make wrong choices without any outside help at all, thank you very much, and I sin again and again. I stray from the Divine, over and over. I get myself in trouble, and—all too often—I think I can work it out without help from the people around me, and without God's help.
I believe God's nature is Love, and it's awfully hard for me to reconcile God's loving nature and the thought that God might hurt me, or allow me to be hurt. But there's that line from Psalms: "Let the bones you have broken rejoice." Some commentators on this passage refer to a practice of ancient shepherds deliberately breaking a straying lamb's leg. Sounds cruel to me. But sheep are not meant to stray...keeping close to the shepherd preserves them from their natural enemies. If a lamb strays again and again, it's in danger of being overwhelmed by the forces against it and it's also going against its God-given, sheep-like nature. The thought that the shepherd might deliberately keep the lamb from straying starts to make some sense. A lamb healing from a broken leg has to depend on the shepherd. The shepherd must carry the lamb until it is healed. The shepherd brings the lamb food and water until it's healed. The lamb and the shepherd would bond during this time, and when the lamb is healed, I can't help but imagine the lamb's natural inclination to stick close to the shepherd is strengthened, and it's not as likely to put itself in danger from forces that wish to devour it.
Well, that makes sense to me. But can I embrace the thought of a God, a loving shepherd, who would hobble me, or metaphorically break my leg, to keep me closer to him when I start to stray? Would God give me a problem to make me more dependent on him, to help me learn to rely entirely on him, to bring me closer and to help keep me closer to the Divine? I think of sheep as stupid—don't you?—and yet in both Old and New Testaments, the metaphor of God as Shepherd and people as sheep comes up again and again. I really don't want to see myself as a sheep; I rebel against the notion. But isn't that how I get myself into trouble, time and again? And how about all the times when I am just not paying attention, when I wander off the Path because I'm not thinking about what I'm doing or—as we say in my family—"Look, something shiny!" and I leave the Path to go investigate? I have to actively fight the feeling that I can handle just about anything that comes my way. If I must see myself as a sheep, I'd like to see myself as a smart, fierce sheep, which is pretty funny when you think about it. Smart, fierce, independent sheep, if they even exist, wouldn't last long in a world full of things with fangs and claws. When I suffer the delusion that I'm the smartest, baddest sheep in the flock, I tend to venture into dangerous territory, and I suffer pain—every time—as a result. More importantly, I stray from the Shepherd and it's often hard to find my way back."