There's a lot of talk against smoking these days. Apparently our van hasn't got the message. On this recent trip our 1982 van decided to take up heavy smoking. We had just arrived in this town where we would be staying and suddenly our teenaged van started belching out serious smoke! Some Christian friends directed us to a Christian mechanic we could trust and he gave some exciting news that our engine had blown and we needed to replace it. Well, after investigating all our options we decided that those dollars would do more repairing our vehicle than replacing it except we didn't have any dollars to put towards it. That breakdown launched a series of miracles that we never could have anticipated when things seemed to be falling apart. The believers in that town found out about what had happened somehow. They supplied us a loaner car and in an act of love that blew us away they put together all the money needed for a new engine. Our incredible Lord loved us and helped us through His wonderful kids. When God steps in, the result is above and beyond all that we could ask or imagine. The mechanic actually found an engine that was considerably more powerful than the one we had lost! I was driving with it yesterday - you should see me go!
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You about "The Power Of Being Broken."
You see God allowed our vehicle to be broken and as a result it has more power than ever before. Well, that's a miracle that He does, not only with vehicles, but with His children. He may be doing that with you right now.
Our word for today from the Word of God is from 2 Corinthians 1:8-9. Now, Paul, in this passage talks, "about the hardships we suffered." And then he said, "We were under great pressure," sound like you?, "far beyond our ability to endure so that we despaired even of life." Maybe that sounds like you? "Indeed, in our hearts," he says, "we felt the sentence of death." He said, "I thought we were going to die." Broken. Why? Paul found out the reason why, he says this, "But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead."
When Paul had just about died emotionally he finally quit trying to manage things. Then he experienced the resurrecting power of God as never before. This broken to become more powerful scenario happened at least two other times in Paul's life. The day he met Christ he was knocked off his horse, he was totally blind, he was totally dependent so he could meet and experience the Living Christ. And then there's this thorn in the flesh, some physical ailment that tormented him that God would not take away. But Paul finally said he came to accept and even celebrate his weaknesses. His broken parts because God said to him in 2 Corinthians 12, he records it, "My strength is made perfect in weakness. So that Christ's power may rest upon me...When I am weak then I am strong." Every time Paul got broken he came out living more of God's power.
A lot of us are like Paul - self-sufficient people, controlling people, driven people, and because there is so much of us in the equation, we have left little room for God's power but God may be putting you through a breaking time right now and it hurts. Maybe it's for the same reason our van broke so there can be greater power than ever before. Broken times often precede the greatest times of spiritual empowerment in our lives because there is nothing left of you and now it can all be God. And when that happens you are about to trade in the limited power of the past for horsepower you have never driven with before.
But first comes broken, then comes the power...