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Bless This Mess: God’s Surprising Plan for Your Brokenness


When my favorite pair of Goodwill jeans got a glaring hole in them, I knew it was time to say goodbye. Cue me crying real tears as I threw them away. A few years ago, I accidentally ran over our brand-new weed eater, and, despite my husband’s best efforts to fix it, it was broken beyond repair. It needed to be thrown out. And when I dropped and shattered our coffee pot, our diffuser, and then one of our nice dishes, I threw them out.  

We exist in a world where, when things are broken, we throw them out. And then we buy a new pair of jeans, get a new weed eater, and replace the coffee pot, diffuser, and bowl. We don’t keep the broken thing because the broken thing isn’t useful to us anymore. 

Imperfect objects are an inconvenience to us. They slow us down.   

And so, it may not come as a shock to know that I often feel like the sin in my life, the brokenness in me, the parts of me that aren’t perfect disqualify me from being useful to God. 

I look at the broken parts of me – my temper, my selfishness, my pride – and see all the ways I slow down God’s mission and get in the way of building his kingdom. 

God probably wants to use shiny people to accomplish his mission, right? And honestly, I wouldn’t blame him. It’s how the world works, so why wouldn’t it be the way God does? 

Let’s run with this: If God wanted to use shiny people only, then the Bible should be full of stories of men and women – heroes and heroines – who were incredible, faithful, loving, compassionate people. Men like Abraham, Moses, David, and Paul. Women like Rahab, Sarah, Leah, and Mary Magdalene. 

Here’s the problem with that theory, though. While these men and women are used by God to accomplish his mission, they all have something else in common too.  

They were messy, broken, incredibly sinful people.   

Rahab lived a life of prostitution for years. 

Both Sarah and Leah take part in the abuse of their female servants by handing them over to their husbands so that they could bear children in their names.  

Before meeting Jesus, Mary Magdalene lived with seven demons wreaking havoc inside her.  

Abraham lied about his wife’s identity to save his own skin and left her vulnerable to sexual exploitation at the hand of powerful men. Twice.

Moses, David, and Paul were all murderers. Moses killed an Egyptian man out of a rage of anger, David killed his friend to cover up the fact that he had taken sexual advantage of his wife, and Paul approved of and voted for the murder of Christians in the early church. 

And yet… 

Rahab was used by God to bring his people into the promised land.  

Sarah and Leah are both women found in the line of Christ. Through their lives, God’s ultimate plan of redemption took place.  

Mary Magdalene traveled alongside Jesus, supported him, and took part in his earthly mission.  

Abraham was used by God to bring about the nation of Israel and the promised restoration for the whole world.  

Moses rescued God’s people out of slavery, encountered God face to face, and brought his people the law. 

David was a man after God’s own heart. He led his people to worship the Lord, and God made a covenant to establish his eternal kingdom through David’s line.  

Paul saw Jesus face to face, wrote thirteen books of the New Testament, and had a huge hand in spreading the gospel in the early church. 

The Bible is clear: these men and women were messy, broken, and sinful. It doesn’t sugarcoat their lives. It doesn’t hide their mistakes or cover up the darkness. Instead, it shines a light on their sin and, at the same time, shows us how God used them to accomplish incredible things.   

God is in the business of using broken people to establish his kingdom.  

When we look at these men and women in the Bible, we aren’t supposed to marvel at how great they are but how incredible God is for taking their brokenness and redeeming it. The Bible’s story isn’t about them. 

Similarly, it isn’t about us. 

Doing something great for God isn’t dependent on me. He doesn’t need me to be shiny and new and perfect to use me, which is good news because I cannot be any of those things. 

Like you and me, the men and women of scripture weren’t perfect, not one of them. 

Except for Jesus. 

He allowed his body to be broken. He took on the sting of death, the rejection, and the disqualification so that we could be seen as righteous before God. 

Know this: Jesus is fully aware of your messy, broken, sinful life (after all, he died for all of it). And still, he calls you to partner with him in his mission. 

Don’t let your own fears get in the way of what God is doing in and through your life. No one is too messy. No one is too broken. No one is too far gone.  

When you feel like your brokenness disqualifies you from being useful, remember you serve a God who chooses messy, broken, and incredibly sinful people to accomplish his mission. 

We’ve all had seasons of life where we just don’t feel comfortable or happy. But would "having it all" really make it better? Join Samantha and Christian on this episode of Going There as they continue through the book of Esther to see what God teaches about finding happiness in our normal circumstances.