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Growing Strong in the Broken Places

A Daily Encounter

Do you ever feel that God can't use you because you aren't qualified? If so, you're in good company. Many of us feel the same way. In fact, there were very few men or women in the Bible who were used of God who didn't have a personal struggle or challenge 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:

"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."

I believe 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 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 God brought us through. As one speaker put it, sharing our faith in Christ is just a case of one beggar showing another beggar where to find bread!

Three times the Apostle Paul prayed that God would deliver him from some kind of affliction, but God chose not to deliver him. In his letter to the church at Corinth-a church that was filled with personal problems-Paul explained why God didn't deliver him: "But he (God) said to me, '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."1

God, of course, doesn't want us to stay stuck in our sins and problems. While He uses us as we are, God also loves us too much to leave us that way. 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 used has had their weaknesses, sins, and failings. But they were available, and they have been remembered for what God did through their lives.

May we be, too!

1. 2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV.

Written and © Copyright by Dick Innes
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