I was sitting in one of those stackable plastic lawn chairs and leaned back. POP! and I fell sideways. When I picked myself up from the ground, I found the arm was broken from the back of the chair. The chair was ruined. Made of flimsy material its strength depended on it being one piece. I set it aside to haul to the dump and got a folding chair in its place.
But, I go to the dump seldom and one day I needed a place off the ground to dry some squash seeds from an heirloom variety. I got the broken chair and put the pulp and seeds in the seat in the sun. Not long after, I got a free six-pack of cauliflower plants because one was broken. I carefully taped the broken stem and re-potted it and set it in a clear gallon jar to protect my splinted plant from the winds. But, the sun wilted it, so I moved the broken chair over to provide some shade. The plant did recover and is now growing in my early garden.
The list of broken things that we make do with goes on and on—the cart that has 2 strong bungee cords pulling the sides tight against the dump gate, the tiller I got tired of replacing a spring on and just duct taped a 2 pound weight to the go-lever (this also has a bungee cord to hold the go-lever up until I get the motor started or the dead man control will kill it because it dropped in gear faster than I could move to the handlebar grips.)
A bruised reed will he not break, and a dimly burning wick will he not quench (Isa 42:3). Has life battered me until I am like that cauliflower and need binding and special care just to survive? Jesus is there with the tape and the jar to protect me from winds that might destroy me. He cares. That gives me the strength to grow as much as I can. Like that plant, I may never be as big as those who were not broken, but I can produce for the master who loved me.
I hear people comfort some person who has really messed up his life with some variation of, "God has a better plan for you." Really? If I had sawn off my leg with a chainsaw or broken my back in a car wreck, there are numerous things I could never be or do. If I demolished my reputation and status with sin, I have closed doors that may never open again. I can never undo the impact of pornography or foul language grooved in the mind or alcohol/drugs. The weakness will always be there. And frankly, I am broken. In some places my soul is held together with duct tape or bungee cords. In all probability, so is yours.
But, our hope is that Jesus will still find a use for us if we will come to him. Like that chair we may not ever be what we were intended to be, but we can be shade to another weak soul or of some other use in his kingdom. We must humble ourselves and be useful in the ways Jesus places before us, not being proud and desiring only to be great things.
I will seek the lost, bring back the strays, bandage the injured, and strengthen the weak (Ezek 34:16).