Many years ago, my son’s team played a baseball tournament against a team from Chattanooga. These kids were maybe 11- or 12-years-old. Jonathan came to the plate and hit a scorching line drive that careened off the shortstop’s leg. Jonathan made it to first base as the shortstop fell to the ground, writhing in pain.
The coach called time and trotted out to his player, talked to him for a moment, and then scooped him up into his arms and carried him back to the dugout. As he picked him up to carry him across the diamond, the shortstop’s leg fell to the ground and lay there. The horrified parents in the stands reacted with gasps and groans. Another coach trotted out to the field and picked up the leg and carried it back to the dugout.
I’d never seen anything like that. As we were processing this bizarre sight, our third base coach turned to the stands and said, “It’s a prosthetic leg!”
They put the player back together and he returned to the field, good as new and played a great game.
That’s what God does in our lives. He specializes in taking our broken lives, shattered dreams and colossal failures and puts us back together again. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “God has now revealed to us His mysterious will regarding Christ, which is to fulfill His own good plan. At the right time He will bring everything together under the authority of Christ” (Ephesians 1:9-10, NLT).
Before God can bring something together, there must be something apart. Before God can heal, there must be sickness. Before there is restoration, there must be broken fellowship. Before God sends provision, a need must surface. Our brokenness is God’s opportunity to show His grace, power, and provision.
And it’s our opportunity to lean into God in trust and total reliance. In His timing, He brings everything together. Jeremiah prayed, “God, pick up the pieces. Put me back together again. You are my praise! (Jeremiah 17:14, MSG Bible).
Not only does God put us back together again, but as He works in us, He often works through us to fulfill His purposes and to advance His Kingdom.
Think about different Bible characters whom God used. Not one was perfect. Adam had a massive fall. Noah got drunk. Abraham was too old. Jeremiah and Timothy were considered too young. Jacob lied. Leah was ugly. Joseph was abused. Moses was a murderer. Samson was a womanizer. Rahab was a prostitute. David was a fornicator. Jonah ran from God.
Paul persecuted and murdered people simply because they followed Jesus. He did everything he could to stop Christianity in its tracks, but Jesus on the road to Damascus stopped Paul in his tracks and called him to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles.
God used each of these broken people in extraordinary ways, flaws and all. We often put these characters on pedestals, thinking they are super saints. For example, the original twelve disciples were just ordinary men doing routine jobs when Jesus called them to follow Him. They were just like us. They had good days and bad days. They often argued among themselves. They often misunderstood Jesus’ mission. They fell asleep while Jesus prayed. One denied Jesus, and another betrayed Him.
Yet, despite their failures, God used them to do great things, especially in the early days of the church. They weren’t super saints. They were simply willing to be used.
God can use us, also, if we allow Him to, even with our imperfections. Are we willing for God to work through our lives as He continues to work in our lives to make us more and more like Him? Do we pray, “God, use me today in some special way as your ambassador to point people to Jesus?”
Pastor Greg Laurie told about a Sunday School teacher who asked her class, “Can any of you tell me what a saint is?”
One little girl thought about the stained glass windows in her church’s sanctuary with depictions of the twelve disciples in each window. She remembered how beautiful the light shining through those windows looked.
She answered, “Saints are people the light shines through.” Even when our lives are broken and flawed, God’s light can shine through.
[David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Georgia. Visit www.mcdonoughroad.org for more information and to view online worship options. Visit www.davidchancey.com to read more of Chancey’s writings. Watch for his new book, “Marvelous Faith: Pursuing the Faith that Makes Jesus Marvel,” coming out in October.]