Many years ago, when I was contemplating a full time missionary service, I read that the famous evangelist, Paul Rader, was once asked: “Why are the laborers always so few?” He replied: “They can’t seem to be broken fast enough, and God can only use truly broken men and women!”
The writing continued: “How true! God only uses broken men and women, no others will do! Others are too self-confident in their own strength! God has to break them, melt them and mold them again in the hands of the Potter to make them better vessels! But He won’t force it! The breaking depends upon you, your yieldingness and willingness to be made willing, total humility, which is synonymous with total love, so you’re willing to go anywhere, anytime, and do anything, for anybody, and be nobody, to please Him and help others!”
These words inspired me to give my entire life in full time service to the Lord and others, until about 32 years later He reminded me of them and warned me that He was going to have to break me and remake me into “another vessel” (Jeremiah 18:4), so that I could be fit for the Master’s use and ready for the new ministry that He was going to assign me. To impress upon me what He was about to do in my life, He then led me to read the following:
The Story of Bamboo …
Once upon a time lay a beautiful garden. And there in the cool of the day was the Master of the garden, who went for a walk. Of all the dwellers of the garden, the most beautiful and beloved was a gracious Bamboo. Year after year Bamboo grew yet more beautiful and he was conscious of his Master’s love and watchful delight. Yet he was modest and gentle. Often when Wind came to revel in the garden, Bamboo would throw aside his dignity and dance merrily, tossing and swaying and leaping and bowing in joyous abandon. He would lead the great dance of the garden which most delighted his Master’s heart.
One day the Master drew near to contemplate his beloved Bamboo. With eyes of curious expectancy, Bamboo bowed his great head to the ground in loving greeting.
The Master spoke: “Bamboo, Bamboo, I would use you.”
Bamboo said, “Master, I am ready, use me as you want!”
“Bamboo,” the Master’s voice was grave, “I would be obliged to take you and cut you down.”
A trembling of horror shook Bamboo. “Cut … me … down? Me, whom You, Master, have made beautiful in Your garden? To cut me down? Ah, not that! Not that! Use me for Your joy, O Master, but cut me not down!”
“Beloved Bamboo,” the Master’s voice grew graver still, “if I don’t cut you down, I cannot use you.”
The garden grew still. Wind held his breath. Bamboo slowly bent his proud head. There came a whisper.
Bamboo replied, “Master, if You cannot use me unless You cut me down, then do Your will and cut!”
“Bamboo, beloved Bamboo, I would cut your leaves and branches from you also.”
“Master, Master, spare me! Cut me down and lay my beauty in the dust, but would You take from me my leaves and branches also?”
“Bamboo, alas! If I do not cut them away, I cannot use you.” The Sun hid his face. A listening butterfly glided fearfully away. Bamboo shivered in terrible expectancy, whispering low, “Master, cut away.”
“Bamboo, Bamboo, I would divide you in two and cut out your heart, for if I do not cut so, I cannot use you.”
“Master, Master, then cut and divide.”
So did the Master of the garden took Bamboo and cut him down and hacked off his branches and stripped off his leaves and divided him in two and cut out his heart.
Lifting him gently, he carried him to where there was a spring of fresh, sparkling water in the midst of Master’s dry fields. Putting down one end of Bamboo in the spring, and the other into the water channel in his field, the Master laid down gently his beloved Bamboo.
The spring sang “welcome”! The clear sparkling water raced joyously down the channel of Bamboo’s torn body into the waiting fields.
Then the rice was planted and the days went by. The shoots grew. The harvest came. In that day was Bamboo, once so glorious in his stately beauty, yet now more glorious in his brokenness and humility.
For in his beauty he was life abundant.
But in his brokenness he became a channel of abundant life to his Master’s world!
“He said unto them, ‘Whoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever will save his life shall lose it; but whoever shall lose his life for My sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.” (Mark 8:34,35).
“Verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it stays alone: but if it die, it brings forth much fruit.” (John 12:24)
… my life!
Needless to say, this has been the story of my life, especially in these last three years… When I thought that I was doing such a great job for Him, the Lord took me aside to a lonely place, where He had to break me and remake me into a new vessel. A little over a year ago, I suffered two heart attacks, and my heart literally stopped for a few minutes. When I was brought back to life, I saw the need of the “broken hearts”!
While laying there, in “intensive care”, I saw the need of not only the other patients that were in the Cardiologycal Hospital with me, but also the need of the nurses, and of the doctors! The Lord showed me that the whole world is full of hearts that are broken, and that this was going to be my new ministry: “Healing Broken Hearts“!
I now rejoice and am exceeding glad, “for He that is mighty has done to me great things; and holy is His Name” (Luke 1:49).
Soul Care and Spiritual Wellness Coach
Cofounder of HEALING BROKEN HEARTS, a worldwide ministry reaching out to those whose hearts are filled with pain and are looking for someone to coach them to victory.