“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
I walked down the aisle of the discount grocery looking for a bargain. It’s always hit and miss in this store … and I had missed … again.
Before giving up and accepting defeat, I passed by a bin that caught my eye. The sign read: “Damaged Goods.” It was filled with dented cans and missing labels … no real rhyme or reason, just random items that were not shelf worthy. I knew just how that felt.
Life sometimes delivers the unexpected. Lessons learned in the school of hard knocks bruise us, dent us and remove the label that we believe defines who we are. A miscarriage strips away the title of mother. A divorce takes away the role of husband or wife. A pink slip eliminates our role of employee.
We can feel as if we have been tossed into a bin, no longer worthy of a place on the shelf. With enough dents and damage, we can believe the lie that we are first-class failures and all hope is gone.
I have been damaged. We all have to some degree. I am not living the life that I dreamed about when I was a kid. However, the damage that I have suffered has made the contents of my heart so much sweeter, so much more compassionate, so much more in pursuit of Jesus. I have been looked down upon and judged by many who have seen my labels missing and slapped on their own.
I’ve wanted to say, “Don’t judge too quickly. My damage has not defined me. It is refining me.” I may sometimes be at the bottom of life’s bin, but Jesus paid as high a price for those of us at the bottom as He did for those that are proudly displayed on the top shelf. In fact, Psalm 34:18 reassures me that He is near to those who are crushed and broken. What a relief that is!
Dear Lord, my life hasn’t turned out exactly like I thought it would. But, I know You can still use me. Please forgive me for labeling others and judging them by their outside circumstances instead of the work that You are doing in their hearts. Help me realize that we all have dents but that’s what keeps us desperate for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.