Grace A. Johnson
What If...God Searches for the Broken Ones?
Just the other day, my family and I went on our first beach trip since 2019. (#thankscovid) The beach, despite the jellyfish and sharks and toddler-wrangling involved, is one of my favorite places to be. And one of my favorite things to do at the beach is gather seashells. #beachcomber
I had three unofficial shell goals (shoals for short):
Find a whole sand dollar (uncompleted, unfortunately)
Find an unbroken lightning whelk shell (took me a while, but I did find one!)
Collect all of the prettiest, cleanest whole shells I could
They may sound like noble goals, but I felt a pinch of guilt every time my siblings handed me a shattered shell or small piece of one and I chucked it to the ground. Or when I heard the crunch of tiny, fragile shells beneath my feet. Or when I passed over shards in search of the “perfect” shells.
It wasn’t like I hurt their feelings or was being shellist (like racist, but, you know, shells...anyway, moving on), but it did get me thinking.
What if God shuffled through all of His people and handpicked the most morally upright, most charismatic, most amiable, most willing, most kind, most loving, most righteous ones for His collection? What if He unceremoniously threw out all of the broken, weary, chipped, hurting, unloved, unwanted, trampled ones like so much garbage?
Where would I be? Where would any of us be, in fact?
I have good news for you guys. God doesn’t pick the brightest bulbs, sharpest pencils, or most holy priests.
He searches for the broken ones.
He chooses the drug addicts, rape victims, thieves and murderers, suicidal teens, porn stars, prostitutes, homosexuals, and broken, discarded, unwanted people—the dirtiest sinners of all—to be His preachers, teachers, and prophets. To be His missionaries and worship leaders and loving families. To be His cities on hills and shining lights. To be living testimonies of His amazing grace and mercy. To reflect His glory. To carry His love.
He chooses the ones who cry themselves to sleep, thinking they’re not good enough, to start revivals.
He chooses the unwanted foster kid with handicaps to preach to the masses.
He chooses the struggling teen mom to raise up soldiers for His army.
He chooses the depressed alcohol abuser to lead His people in praise.
He chooses the sex slavery survivor to change the world.
Not only that, but He searches for them. Scours the earth for, yeah, the most broken souls. Why? Because broken souls make beautiful vessels. Because He looks at that chipped seashell with holes in it and sees a gorgeous conch. Because He looks at your brokenness and sees the beauty He can create in you, the beauty you were intended for. Because in your weakness, your failings, your imperfections, His strength is made perfect.
He doesn’t see your mistakes or your impurities. He sees you for who you are—His creation, made in His image—and for who you can be in Him—a shining star.
So even though seashells do lose their value and beauty when they’re chipped or cracked or broken, people don’t. Their value increases with every piece of them they lose—because that’s just more of Jesus He can put in.
Remember that the next time you’re feeling blue, beat-down, world-weary, or broken. Remember that God sees you. He hears you. And you know what? He is more than ready to work in you to turn you into a masterpiece.