“God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever.”― Vance Havner
Sometimes life feels like nothing more than a highway from one destination of suffering to another. Just when things seem to be going our way:
God called us to be least, Jesus living a life of selfless abandon, giving all to all, even those who did not deserve it. But how can we deny ourselves when our problems are so large? Our circumstances overwhelmingly demanding, sucking away all of our mind power, our energy, and our resources? How do we think about others, when we are in very real, very powerful pain?
Yet God calls us to evangelize in the midst of our suffering. To “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19, ESV).
‘Aint nobody got time for that!
Does He not know how difficult the nations are? How much time people demand? How irritating making disciples is?
Jesus does. He lived it. How many times did Jesus have to repeat His teachings to His own disciples, waiting patiently for them to not only understand, but to live like they understood. He persisted in leading them even as they betrayed Him, denied Him, even as He was led away to die for them.
That is the essence of evangelism, leading in the midst of our own suffering. As Jesus told His disciples, “if anyone wants to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).
God made this clear to me recently as I was pregnant with my first child. Pregnancy is a complicated time, full of anticipation, joy, and a whole mess of unexpected sufferings. You as a woman bear the load of nurturing a growing child, giving of your own body to house, feed, and eventually deliver your precious cargo.
During this time, I found myself curling inward, everyone else becoming a distant thought. I wanted to hermit myself away in my house to lick my wounds and to prepare a place for my child far away from the responsibilities and darkness of this world. However, God reminded me that I am “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14), and that people do not “light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house” (Matthew 5:15).
We are not a light switch to be turned on and off by will or convenience. Our purpose here on earth is to bring glory to God and God to His people. If we hide our light under a basket, only sharing God in our brightest of times, people will never see that our God provides in our sufferings! That He is good everlasting, never changing, and all powerful. People will see Him in how He shows up for you, giving Him the glory.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)