“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
During the summer months, I love to walk in the cool of the morning before the sun gets fiery hot. On this morning’s walk, my focus was on the clear blue sky, the birds singing in the trees, and the gorgeous flowerbeds of my neighbors… not on the road.
At one point, my foot hit something small and inadvertently kicked it a few paces ahead of me, drawing my attention to it. What appeared at first to be a dirty scrap of metal ended up being a quarter. I bent down to pick it up. It felt and looked flatter than it should have and was pretty scratched and battered. I had to rub the dirt away to read the barely visible date: 1965.
I started to wonder, how many hands this quarter had passed through in its fifty-plus years? How did it get so banged up to being almost unrecognizable? How many cars might have driven over it? My instinct was to throw it back on the ground, thinking it unfit to use. (The U.S. mint can take coins out of circulation if they are mutilated or no longer machine countable.) But instead, I kept it. I held it in my hand as I walked and pondered.
We, too, can get pretty banged up by life circumstances. Our bodies can succumb to disease, injuries, and just old age. Our mental health can take a lot of hits, too. Does that make us any less valuable? Does it render us unable to be used by God? I’m pretty certain He’d say “no.” In fact, God can use our bumps and bruises and life-crises to His advantage. He may even allow them for His specific kingdom-furthering purposes.
- The woman who has cancer, and is able to share her faith with her medical team and with the patient in the chemo chair next to her - people whom she never would have met otherwise.
- The teacher with clinical anxiety and depression who offers wise counsel and hope to students who also suffer with these things.
- The young man who was abused as a child, and is now an advocate for victims of bullying.
You get the picture. God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. It never occurs to Him to discard us when we are beat up and broken. He took a young man who was a victim of human trafficking and eventually made him the Governor over Egypt so he would have authority and power to help his own people in a time of famine. That’s what God does with broken people; He uses them in their brokenness. He is never finished using us until He removes us from this Earth.
The quarter has a new home on my desk next to my computer. Its purpose in its battered state is to serve as my reminder to never think I’m too old, too broken, or too… anything.
How about you? Might difficult life circumstances have you feeling defeated and powerless? Might past sins keep you thinking God can’t possibly use you to accomplish something good?
If you are reading this, He isn’t finished with you yet!
“…being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6