May 05, 2020

Broken to Bless

Often as a pastor’s kid I felt like I lived in glass house and people threw rocks. Have you ever felt that way? People are always watching our lives. That can be a frightening thing, and I know as a pastor’s kid you feel the weight of that statement, just as I used to. Now that I am older, I see how people watching my life is something God is weaving into the story of my life to make me more like Him.

I know everyone experiences times of difficulty and hardship, but for me it seemed to start early, and it is still coming at me. To name a few: when I was 12 years old, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, on my honeymoon my wife and I got in a car wreck, at age 31 the doctors amputated my big toe on my left foot, at age 34 the doctor looked at my wife and told her I probably would not make it through the day, and at age 35 they had to amputate my left leg below the knee due to complications of diabetes. There are so many things in between these stories that I could tell you, but as I was going through it all I asked God, “Why am I so broken?“ He just answered with his love and overwhelming favor on my wife and family. Lying in the Emergency room and hearing the doctor tell my wife, we have to do surgery now or he will be dead in two hours, and all I remember is the peace of God that flooded my life in that moment.

Growing up in a pastor’s home, having now been a pastor for the last 17 years, people watch and see how we react to things. I praise God for the joy He gives me every day to serve Him even in the most difficult of circumstances. Outside of the things I mentioned above, the last two years in my family’s life has been extremely difficult in job transitions and moving across the country. The two constant things that have been present through all of it is: the unchangeable God we serve, and people being blessed in seeing our family’s faith and trust in His plan. I have found that when those difficult moments in my life, or even the mundane things come, I have an opportunity to choose my reaction. I can trust in Him or I can fear. Believers, as well as unbelievers, are always watching to see how we react to what life throws at us. During one of my hospital stays my wife was reading scripture out loud to me. When she came to Psalm 40, it stopped both of us dead in our tracks, it reads:

I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth—
Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the Lord.

I can remember praying so much during this time of my life, begging God to fix the situation. I definitely felt like I was in the horrible pit verse two talks about. The verse that stopped me though, was verse 3, “He has put a new song in my mouth, Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear.”  Many people will see it.  People are watching my life. The situation belongs to God, the outcome belongs to God, but I am responsible for what they see. As God does work in you through the trials you face in life, He is the one that gives the song, a song of joy, a song of thanksgiving, a shout of praise, as you sing this new song, many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord.  Wow! Think about that, we get to play a part in people putting their trust in God, just by living my broken life. I would never want to give the impression that this process is easy, it is not. We know our lives are broken, but if we let God use our brokenness it will bless. Sharing your story, whatever that may look like, will impact people for eternity as you show them God through your story.

By <a href="" target="_self">Josh Clifton</a>

By Josh Clifton

Josh has been married to Melissa, his beautiful wife, for almost 19 years. They have 2 awesome children, Victoria and Wesley. Josh has been a Student and Family pastor in Michigan, Missouri, Texas and Florida throughout the past 17 years. He and his family currently live in Springfield, MO. He works for Great Circle, an organization that helps traumatized and at-risk kids.