People always say to learn from the past, but sometimes the past is too painful to look at. We all have things that we’ve done that we’re not proud of, and we’ve all been through things that we wish hadn’t happened. There are times that these mistakes and circumstances can loom over us like a dark cloud, making it hard for us to see the beauty of the life we’re living right now. And if you’re a Christian, those dark clouds can sink deep into your heart until you begin to question your place in God’s family. The enemy will whisper lies that you’re too broken for God to use, or that you’ve messed up too many times to be welcomed back home. And the only way to dispel these lies is by shining the Lord’s truth on them.
The truth is that God uses broken people all the time because we are all broken. Every single person has sinned, messed up, and wandered away from the Lord. None of us are perfect, and yet God is using people every day to build His kingdom. The Lord holds the entire universe together; He can hold the weight of your past as well. To think that you are the exception to this is to limit the Lord’s redeeming powers.
If we genuinely believe that God is almighty, that He spoke the world into existence and breathed life into our lungs, why do we also believe the lie that we’re too broken for the Lord to use? God created the whole world, and He created you. He is the potter at the wheel, the architect drawing the plans, the builder laying the foundation. God sees everything that has happened in your life and everything that will happen. Your baggage doesn’t surprise Him.
“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”2 Corinthians 4:6-9
Every person that God used throughout history was broken. David had an affair, Moses was scared of public speaking, Rahab was a prostitute, Paul killed people before he came to the Lord, and so on. No amount of baggage will prevent the Lord from using you because we aren’t supposed to carry that weight once we enter into a relationship with the Lord. We’re meant to lay it down at the foot of the cross and take up the yoke Jesus has for us. That doesn’t mean that we ignore what happened to us or block out the experiences that shaped us. It means that those hurts, betrayals, and relapses don’t define us anymore. They don’t get a say in who we are because our whole identity is found in Christ.
Will we mess up? Yes. Will we run away? Yes. Will the Lord’s mercy, grace, and forgiveness be waiting for us when we come back home? Also, yes. The Lord doesn’t expect us to be perfect; He knows that we will fall back into sin. But He loves you too much to leave you there, so He’s going to refine you. Is it going to hurt along the way? Yes, growing pains always hurt. But at the end, when the refining is done, and we finally reach heavens gates, we’ll know that it was all worth it.
So don’t be afraid of where God is calling you. He knows your thoughts, your past, where you’re going to slip up, and He has called you all the same. Leave that hurts of your history in the hands of the Father and watch as God redeems and restores what you once thought was beyond repair. Watch as He uses broken clay pots to shine His light into the world.