“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. In just a short time he will restore us, so that we may live in his presence” (Hosea 6.1-2 NLT).
When I trained for my MMA fight, I sparred with several different women. Sparring is extremely important because it prepares you for the cage. However, sparring hurts. One woman I sparred threw me against the cage, forcing her shoulder – and all of her body weight – into my chest. I felt my sternum crunch, so I took a visit to the ER. Another woman hit my nose, causing it to swell and bruise, and every additional punch to my face felt like a hammer. And another woman put me into so many arm bars that I thought my arm would fall off. After each injury, my sparring partners would give me a hug and say, “Good job.” They didn’t feel guilty about the pain they inflicted because they knew that they were helping me find my victory. Sounds strange, doesn’t it? But they were breaking me down, so I could become stronger. By the time I entered the cage, my injuries were healed (for the most part), and I was strong. After a minute and nine seconds, I won my fight by TKO (Technical Knock Out). I gave my opponent a hug, and said, “God will break you down, but I promise He will build you back up again.” God needs to unleash the amazing potential in each of us, and He can only do it when we are broken and surrendered to Him. Sometimes God will use situations to break us, but other times He will use people. I used to struggle when God wanted to use me as a tool to break someone down, but now I am filled with the understanding that if their hearts are open to Him, He will build them back up even stronger and wiser than before. Although I’m not going to actively seek out being God’s breaking instrument, I won’t shy away from it either. I want all of God’s children to reach their potential, and I know that He is fully capable of healing and strengthening those whose eyes are focused on Him.
God, please help me not be offended when others are used to break me. Whether they are aware of it or not, they are a tool to build my faith and bring me closer to You. Also, help me to be used to sharpen others with confidence and grace. I care more about them becoming like You than about them having comfortable, painless lives. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.