“I spent a lot of money on this. I had it replaced twice. Every time I go to use this tool, it falls apart. It’s worthless.”
I watched as the mechanic tried unsuccessfully to repair the brand new God-forsaken object that was supposed to be helping him repair something else. I watched as the ball bearings rolled out and underneath the car he was working on. I watched as the entire tool fell completely apart in his hand as he tried to piece it back together. I thought about his great level of frustration and I considered what he had said…
“Every time I go to use this tool, it falls apart.”
…and I saw myself. Surely the Lord sits on his throne watching me fall apart in his hands right at the very moments when he is seeking to use me most. I was bought at quite an extravagant price, too. He continuously returns me to himself and makes me new, but it seems that the very mechanics of my inward parts disallow me from delivering when the stakes are highest.
After puzzling a few moments more, I reneged on the thought of God’s disappointment with me and I reminded myself that I am not simply a tool made of cold metal. I am, rather, a child. His child. God may indeed be a stellar mechanic when it comes to matters of the heart, but he is never a frustrated one. He is not a disappointed boss – ever – because disappointment, by nature, comes only upon the heels of failed expectations. The Lord of the Universe knows and has always known exactly who I am, where I’m at, and what I will do. He knows absolutely everything and therefore never expects anything that will not come to be. He already knows when and where and how very much we all will fail throughout our lives, and yet, he saved us kids anyway. He bought us at an outrageous price. He adopted us at the very time when we were most undesirable and he seeks to use us even though we often fall completely apart when he seeks to use us under pressure.
All is not lost, though.
When that tool broke for the third time, the mechanic reach instinctively down and positioned the new part by hand without it. He showed himself an expert builder by his clear lack of need for that small, insignificant tool regarding the sure accomplishment of his desired result. Likewise, through each human failure, we prove our God stronger; more able; altogether independent; an expert builder in need of nothing and no one regarding the sure accomplishment of his purposes. Thankfully, unlike the mechanic’s tool, our failures do not make us useless. Consider Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, Solomon, Peter, Paul…and these were those who did some of the greatest things for the kingdom of God!
God does not throw us away when we fall apart under pressure. Instead, he takes those opportunities to discipline, prune, and mature us – loving father to ever-learning child. He uses those times to prove himself strong and perfect in our weakness, and that, friends, is wonderful news. These truths should encourage us if we are his children.
As we embark upon a brand new (home) school year, I rest. After the worst year of my life, I can confidently say that if I am faithless, he remains faithful. (2Timothy 2:13) I do not have to worry whether he will carry me when I inevitably become overwhelmed. He is the one who called me to work in this capacity. I sometimes act like a hammer trying to be a screwdriver or a drill trying to be a fire extinguisher. But God made me a wrench’s wife. He asked me to teach the mechanic’s children and he specifically said I ought to do so at home.
By the grace of God, that is what I am about to do once again. The days I fail will prove my God strong. The days I succeed will prove him faithful. I pray that every day in between will find me growing more mature, less unworthy of my calling and more useful to his kingdom. Amen.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ~2 Corinthians 12:9