The Missionary Mandate Newsletter

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Growing Strong in the Broken Places


"But he [God] said to me [Paul], 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me" (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV).

Do you sometimes feel that God can't use you because you aren't perfectly qualified? If so, you're in good company with great men and women of God. In fact, there were a great number of men and women in the Bible who were used of God who was sufferers of their own personal struggles or challenges of one kind or another. Moses and Mary weren't the only ones who didn't feel qualified for the work God was calling them to do!

An unknown author has pointed out that "Moses stuttered. John Mark was rejected by Paul. Timothy had ulcers. Hosea's wife was a prostitute. Amos' only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning. Jacob lied. David had an affair. Solomon had too many wives and concubines. Jesus was too poor and wasn't schooled in the right religious institutions. Abraham and Sarah were too old. David was too young. Peter was impulsive. John had a temper. Naomi was a widow. Paul was a murderer, as was Moses. Jonah ran from God. Gideon and Thomas both doubted. Jeremiah was depressed. Elijah was burned out. Martha worried too much. Matthew was a despised tax-gatherer. Noah had a drinking problem."

It was Ernest Hemingway who first used the phrase, "Growing strong in the broken places." The idea behind these words is that where a bone is broken and heals, it becomes the strongest part of the bone. The same is true of our broken places--where we have been hurt, have fallen, or failed. When we bring these dreadful hurts and shameful brokenness to Christ for healing, his strength is then made perfect in and through our weaknesses. This is certainly true in ministering to other people. Our friends are not helped so much by our brilliant logic or persuasive speech as they are through honest sharing of our own struggles and how, with God's help, we have overcome. Sharing our faith in Christ is just a case of one beggar showing another beggar where to find bread!

As we grow in God our friends and associations will transform from those who cannot travel with us anymore, to those who will join us on our journey, regardless of the circumstances.  But, we must remember true friends will never choke your hopes and dreams, nor belittle your trials or convey unwarranted judgments over your misfortunes. Therefore, never share your dreams or trials of life with selfish people; or those who are powerless of contributing to a solution. God has divine connections waiting to befriend you, and always willing through the help of the Holy Spirit to bring out in you—the regenerate self, “the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:24).

God, of course, doesn't want us to stay stuck in our sins and problems. While He uses us as we are, he also loves us too much to leave us as we are. But never think that you have too little talent or too many hurts or problems for God to use you. The key issue is to be available. Everyone that God has ever called-on has had their weaknesses, obvious sins, and certain failings. But they were available for the Lord and Kingdom work, and they have been remembered for what God did through their lives, not so much their failures. God will do the same for you and me, as we make ourselves available for Him to use us every day.
"Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God's plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins. Our broken lives are not lost and useless. God comes in and takes the calamity and uses it victoriously, working out his wonderful plan of love" Eric Liddell.
 Suggested prayer: "Dear God, I'm available. Please make me usable and use to today to be as Jesus in some way to every life I touch. And please use me in whatever way to be a part of your plans and what you are doing in the world today. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen." 

To God be the glory and in all things give Him thanks!