“But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land: And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.”Acts 27:43-44
It was the end of the school year when yearbooks came out, and I was excited to ask my second grade teacher to sign mine. My teacher gladly took my book and wrote (I kid you not), “I hope one day you can learn to sit still and use all that energy for good.” I was expecting a compliment such as, “Best student ever” or “I really enjoyed having you in my class”, but those statements were nowhere to be found. My disappointment with what she wrote soon wore off though, and I went about my day not remembering what she had said.
My other classmates simply signed their names and included their phone number, but she felt led to share her true feelings with me. I think back to that rambunctious class of second graders, and I imagine she was eager for the school year to end. I certainly admit I was not the best student nor was I the most obedient. I squirmed around like I had ants in my pants, and I struggled to sit still. I imagined she was relieved I was going on to the third grade, and sent me off with a parting note of advice for the future to come.
She could not envision what would become of me in the years to follow, but it is amazing to see what God is able to do in a child, even one who can’t sit still. I would never have been voted as one to do anything for God, but God is not swayed by the vote of man. We’ve all done things in our lives that some would say disqualify us from doing God’s work, but God is constantly at work. I am grateful that our God is a God of a million chances as I have used more than my fair share. If you are breathing, then He is able to change you and use you. He is able to fix the broken pieces and put ointment on the scars of life.
This verse in Acts that tells of the shipwreck describes how people made it to safety: “some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship, and so it came to pass that they escaped all safe to land.” Praise God that He uses the brokenness of our lives to bring about good. There is safety in the knowledge of our LORD and Savior, safety in being in His will, and a fulfillment and satisfaction when escaping from a life of sin. Proverbs 18:10 states, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” I am grateful that in the rough seas of life, He is my beacon of hope and strong tower. I am grateful for His long suffering, and His forgiveness to use broken pieces for His glory. He is able to take my imperfection and mold me into His own image.
Where are you today friend? Have you come over to safety on a board or a broken piece? In the shipwrecks of life, God is able to use those broken pieces to bring us to a place of safety. I praise God for the broken pieces in my life and how He used those to draw me to Him. May we never forget how we came to God and may we allow Him to use our past for His honor and glory.