God’s word tells us that He works all things together for good for those who love Him, and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). However, when we are in the midst of the hardest times of our lives, are we really thinking about how they’re going to work out for the good?
My wife and I recently had an incredible opportunity to share our testimonies with a wonderful group of young men and women at a school called Boys Town. After we finished sharing with them about some of the hardest struggles of our lives, we invited the students to ask is questions. One of the questions that came up was, “Do you have any regrets?”
Without much thought, I was able to respond by telling the class that I honestly didn’t have regrets. Had I not struggled the way I had in my early twenties, there is no chance I would have the relationship with God that I have today. Had I not been blessed with the opportunity to come face to face with my own brokenness, my eyes probably would have never been opened to my need for Christ’s perfection. In other words, I wouldn’t be where I am if I hadn’t come from where I came from.
It’s not that I am in a perfect place now. I still have hardships, and I still have struggles that God is helping me to overcome. However, I do have hope, which is something I didn’t have before. More importantly, I now know that I have Christ living in me, despite what hardships and struggles might be thrown at me. Had I never come to that realization, I would more than likely be living out a depressed, meaningless, and sinful life.
My original question had to do with whether or not we can see this hope when we are in the midst of those times of complete brokenness. The answer, most of the time, is no. Quite often, when we are consumed with our own brokenness, it is very difficult to see hope for the future. When we are in over our head in an addiction, it’s hard to see how God might use that someday for good. When we are in the middle of yet another failed relationship, or a major family crisis, it’s hard to believe that one day we will be thankful for that particular struggle.
The interesting thing is that time and again throughout the Bible, we see God using broken people to glorify His name and bring hope to others. When Saul was overwhelmed by anger and self righteousness, and persecuting followers of Christ, I sincerely doubt that he viewed himself as the future tool through which God would bring the good news to countless Gentiles. When the woman at the well was in the middle of her sixth dysfunctional relationship, she couldn’t even believe that Jesus would actually talk to her, let alone use her to bring the good news to a whole town of people. I could go on and on with biblical examples, and that doesn’t count the millions of people on the earth today who could tell you similar things about their own story.
My goal here isn’t just point to out the fact that we are broken, we have struggles, and it’s hard to have hope in the midst of those struggles. The goal is to call attention to a solution that helps every last one of us overcome those struggles. That solution is encouragement. We all need to be encouraged, and to have the truth spoken over us. When we can’t see the potential good in our brokenness, we need brothers and sisters in Christ to remind us. I am 100% confident that there are people reading this today who feel defined and condemned by their brokenness. They feel like all hope is lost, and there is no chance to overcome. They feel like damaged goods that can never be used again.
I, along with countless other followers of Christ, can tell you that this is simply not true. I am a living, breathing example of brokenness being used for good. I can look back at certain struggles and say that, while I was in the midst of them, I could not see how God could use them for good. But I did have brothers and sisters in Christ who could see. I had brothers and sisters who had been where I was, who could confidently say, “You may not realize it now, but God is going to help you overcome this, and then He is going to use it. God is going to use this struggle in your life to help others overcome it.”
Friends, I can confidently stand here today and say that your brokenness can be so valuable if you submit it to Christ. The enemy wants to use it to destroy you, but God wants to use it restore you and others. Hold on to hope, keep fighting, and place your life into His hands. Watch as He takes this struggle that the enemy meant for evil, and turns it into a tool for your greater good and His greater glory!
But he 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 – 2 Corinthians 12: 9