A twisted, tangled pile of broken lumber – that’s what I saw – trash to be discarded.
Our new church auditorium under construction a few years ago suffered a major setback. Trusses were being installed on Tuesday. Beautiful, vaulted scissor trusses spanning 80 feet, they were a sight to behold. Until they came crashing down Wednesday.
What I saw then was an ugly mound of broken boards; a roofless room littered with crumpled plywood decking and ripped roofing felt. Most of it could never be used again to build anything.
It was depressing to see it day after day as we waited for insurance adjustors to adjust. It was embarrassing to be introduced as the preacher “whose church fell down.” (I’ve assured folks that the church didn’t collapse, only a few boards.) Needless to say, that was not our brightest moment.
But, there was light dancing among the shadows. While broken boards are trash, the rubble served as an important reminder that the Master Carpenter builds with broken boards. Amazingly, broken lives are the only building materials he uses to construct his house. Those are the only ones available.
The apostle Paul, the most powerful proponent of Christianity in the first century, was first a persecutor of believers – a broken board. He knew firsthand how God redeems rubble. He shared a list of recycled lives in Corinth: “Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
Be honest. What do you think of people whom you know in those categories? Are they hopeless? To be discarded? Or, at least, disregarded?
Hardly. See what else Paul has to say about them. “That is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (v. 11). They had been reclaimed, rescued from the landfill.
There is no broken life God cannot repair. None. Drunks, drug addicts, dropouts, and delinquents - He can remake them all. Even the broken life we see in the mirror.
Unlike broken boards, we have a choice. We can remain broken, or we can submit ourselves to be remade. We can choose to be trash, or to be trusses in the triumphant temple of God.