It was a blistering summer day, and the children were relieved to get off the bus. They crowded together at the door of the air conditioned building. At that moment, a strange grinding sound stopped them and caused them to turn back toward the huge orange bus that was pulling away. One by one, their mouths dropped in amazement as they viewed the back end of the bus as it sat atop the freshly painted red fire hydrant. The man behind the wheel (my dear husband) was also in shock as he mumbled something about not wanting to drive the bus in the first place. Before the bewildered looks turned to snickers, the bus had dragged itself off the hydrant and was heading away in the opposite direction with a deep gash in the side and a slightly flattened tire.

When he arrived back on the church campus, Ricky immediately went to the pastor, asking him to come out and survey the damage. I don’t think it was the comment that “It’ll buff out” that saved the day, but the graciousness of our forgiving Pastor Cox. We’re thankful Ricky was still able to continue on staff, even with the blight of the bus on his record.

God uses things that are broken, though they are often discarded by us. Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” God can use a broken bus, a broken tire and He can even use us, once we are broken. Sometimes we feel that we or others who have fallen can’t be used anymore. We think that broken people no longer have a place of service.  But that’s not always the case. God used Rahab, a woman who lived a life of immorality. He used Peter, who, much like us, got into a pinch and fell into unbelief. He even used David, a murderer, an adulterer, a disobedient king. All of these people repented of their sins, even David who cried until he was sick. They were truly broken.

I fear that we cut people off when they have messed up. We no longer want to be associated with them. We “write them off” and “move on.” If a person is living in sin and refuses to repent or change, that is another matter. But when someone is broken, hurt, sorrowful for sin and wishes to be restored, we are obligated as fellow Christians to help them and reach out to them and their families.  If God forgives our broken hearts, who are we to not do the same for others and to do it in Christlike love?