Out of Brokenness
Jonny Diaz has a new song called “Broken People;” the chorus goes like this:
Come with your messes
Come with your hurting
Come with your questions
Your doubting and your searching
He loves the honest
He loves when you're real
'Cause it's amazing and it's true
The way our God can use
I find this to be so encouraging - God can and does use broken people, just like me and you! When I decided to follow Christ over 15 years ago, God filled my heart with a passion to reach my unsaved friends with the good news of Jesus Christ. When chronic pain entered the picture in 2011, my soul began to panic, and my mind raced with questions like “How can I tell my friends about Jesus when my life is such a mess? Why would they believe anything I say when I have all these problems and their lives are so easy?” I slowly began to believe the lie that I’d failed in my mission to reach my friends, and the physical pain was augmented by a crushing guilt that I’d let God down and as a result he’d left me to suffer.
A shift began taking place about three years ago; as I began to see the goodness in my life despite the pain, I also realized my life had meaning, purpose, and the ability to make an impact for the Kingdom, despite my struggles. At times suffering was the very conduit God used to help me bless others - who would have thought?
God has used the life of Joni Eareckson Tada to bless countless souls all across the world over the past several decades - but talk about walking the path of hardship and suffering! In my mind it would be more than enough just to be paralyzed below the neck for 50+ years; then add 2 rounds of cancer and severe chronic pain on top of it all. I don’t know how she does it! Having interviewed Joni, I think she would probably say she doesn’t know how she would do it either were it not for the faithful provision and strength she receives on a daily basis from her walk with Jesus. It’s in his hands that Joni has been able to be a blessing - much like the little boy who gave his lunch to Jesus and saw it multiplied to bless and feed thousands. That’s what God does with our lives when we surrender to him in faith.
Joni put it this way:
When we suffer, it’s as though God is breaking us, as Jesus broke those barley loaves. But out of our brokenness, He can increase courage, hope, and blessing for others—proving to them that His grace is sufficient and inspiring them to persevere. Yes, it hurts to be broken, but what a privilege to be multiplied in God’s hands!
I won’t lie - I don’t like pain, and I don’t think I ever will. But I get excited when I think that maybe, just maybe my sufferings over the past eight years are part of God’s preparations to help reach my unsaved friends with the good news of the gospel! Maybe a humble, broken Ryan who sees God provide his needs one day at a time is a better messenger than Ryan living the “good life” with no problems.
We’re all broken in some way - so let’s give those broken pieces to Jesus. Who knows what he can do with them?