God Uses Broken Lives
by Beth Parkinson
Presenter, CBN Europe
Tune in for the next few weeks as Beth Parkinson, CBN Presenter, unpacks what it looks like to live with ‘life between the ditches’…
Years ago, I heard a brilliant preach series called Ditches – about living life in balance. The message at the core of it has stuck with me for over a decade, and another message just recently reminded me of the impact it has had on my life.
Quick Fix Answers
I think we can all be guilty of wanting a one stop answer to things that are going on… how do we hear God’s voice more clearly, well, that’s ‘x,y and z’. How do we find out God’s plan for our lives? ‘1,2,3’. How do we navigate showing people around us love, but still communicate God’s truth? That’s ‘a,b,c and a little bit of z’. There are so many things in life that would be so much easier if there was one simple answer… but that’s not life, is it? And it’s not what God has promised us either.
Jesus told us that ‘In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33). The Christian life, when we sign up for it, isn’t a golden ticket to an easy, carefree life – but an invitation to adventure and all that comes with it, adversity and trials included.
Grace and Truth
I think one of the areas of my life that I’ve felt the most tension in, is marrying the truths of the Bible that I’m reading with the choices that people around me that I know and love are living contrary to.
When the Bible says that marriage is designed for one man and one woman, but I have people I know to be loving, kind, and full of integrity that identify as LGBT+. It’s a subject easier to avoid than face head on, but here’s what I know. When Jesus spoke to the woman at the well, she wasn’t living an ‘ideal’ life. She was from the ‘wrong’ ethnic background, was the ‘wrong’ gender to be acknowledged by a teacher of the day, let alone spoken to, she was living in ‘wrong’ relationships, and yet Jesus spoke to her where she was at, and used her to reach a whole city of people.
The Christian life, when we sign up for it, isn’t a golden ticket to an easy, carefree life – but an invitation to adventure and all that comes with it, adversity and trials included.
Exceptions to the Rules
What about Rahab? A prostitute turned informant/spy’s accomplice, and in God’s amazingly redemptive economy – came into the lineage of Jesus, Saviour of the world.
And David, who we know to be named ‘a man after God’s own heart’ was an adulterer, a murderer and a man of war. God doesn’t hold our choices against us but draws near to us as we open our hearts to him.
He didn’t ignore where people fell short of His holiness, but He did send Jesus to cover those same lives with His righteousness and grace. God can and will use any life that is surrendered to Him. He chooses to use these broken vessels to perfectly show the perfection of His love.
That’s the first track for us to follow – walking the line between acknowledging failures – our own and those of others, counterbalanced with the grace God offers us. Not veering off into judgementalism, or liberalism. Taking and communicating the forgiveness Jesus offers for all our sin, acknowledging that we couldn’t earn this by ourselves, and that God chooses us, not because of our life choices – but even in spite of them.
Life between the ditches – it’s not a straightforward walk – but it’s the most fulfilling.