I sat in the courtroom trying to hold back the tears that were welling up in my eyes. Before me the judge was proceeding over the finality of a divorce for a couple that I know. I have not had the privilege (or curse) of being in a courtroom often in my life. And I had never been in a family courtroom for a divorce proceeding. I honestly felt like I was at a very sad funeral, but only worse.
You see, the man who asked me to attend the proceeding and be a friend to him at this difficult time was someone I had known for many years. He is a Christian man whom I believe loves the Lord passionately. We attended Bible college together; we worked in the bus ministry together; we reached people together. After graduating Bible college, I went on to a small town in upstate NY to pastor the very first church that God would have me lead. This man (I’ll call him George for privacy reasons) went on to meet the woman of his dreams and marry her. They (both of them attested to this) believed that God would have them become missionaries to the country of Mexico. George & his wife married in 2002 and went on to have four beautiful, precious children.
Somewhere along the way, cracks began to show in the marriage. At this point, there is no need to fix blame on just one of the parties. My belief is that it always takes two to tango. There might be one person in a marriage who contributes more to the breakup of a marriage (due to infidelity, selfishness, or a variety of other reasons) but the fault always lies at both of their feet. While they were in Mexico, George started to notice that things were not what they should be in their marriage. To make a long story short, they left Mexico and the ministry they were serving in and came back to the States. It was not long after that a separation took place. Quite clearly, this couple was heading in the opposite direction.
Fast forward to the morning before the actual divorce. I was sitting at breakfast with George and we were conversing about life and life after divorce. He shared with me that he sure would love to continue to serve the Lord in ministry but doesn’t know if that will ever happen again. In speaking with him, he conveyed to me the spirit/attitude of some in leadership that had basically written him off for future ministry. And I could tell it was killing him. I looked him in the eye and said, “George, we are all just broken people.” We continued to talk and talk and talk about life, ministry, family, and children. I did the best I could to encourage a man whose spirit had clearly been broken by the messiness of life.
After contemplating on that statement all day long after leaving the courthouse, I was reminded over and over again that God often uses broken people to do His will. No, I hope and pray that I will never have to endure/face what George faced that day (and will face for the rest of his life) in my marriage and family. However, I was reminded that some of the greatest people ever used by God and for God and for others were people whose life had been shattered. And I believe God is not done using George for a great purpose.
There is someone you know whose life has been broken as of late. It might be a disease that has just invaded their body, a relationship which not only went sour but has turned rancid, a checking account that not only has nothing in it, but creditors knocking at their door every day. Don’t write them off, don’t accuse them, don’t judge them. Be there for them. Why?
Because “We are all just broken people.” God delights in using broken people. When He uses broken people, the only One who gets the glory is God.
“A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench.” Isaiah 42:3