Why Does God Use Imperfect People?
And Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. The LORD blessed him, and the man became rich, and gained more and more until he became very wealthy. Genesis 26:12-13
Often, as I’ve observed other Christians whom I’ve put on a pedestal, I’ve been surprised and hurt when they’ve turned out to be all too human. We’ve all seen those who’ve done great things, struggle and fail. It’s hard to comprehend sometimes. How can someone who’s done so much good be so bad? Even those who’ve never had some frontpage moral failure still have glaring shortcomings that eventually become apparent. How can God use someone who’s so flawed? Why doesn’t God use perfect people? And there’s the answer to my own question. There are no perfect people. We’ve all got our flaws. God could exclude us from his plan, but he loves us, and he uses us to do his will, despite our struggles.
God asked Noah to build an ark and Noah obeyed, saving humanity. Then Noah got fall-down drunk. God asked Abraham to follow him, and Abraham obeyed, but then faltered in his faith several times, lying about his wife’s identity, and impregnating Hagar (not his wife) in an attempt to speed up God’s plan. God asked Isaac to follow him and Isaac also obeyed. Far from perfect though, Isaac displayed favoritism to his children (generating years of conflict) and lied (like his father) about his wife’s identity to protect himself.
Still, God blessed these men. Why? Why did God favor sinners? The Bible shares other stories of others who were struck dead for simply lying (Acts 5:1-11). So why were Noah, Abraham, and Isaac all blessed, despite their obvious flaws? First, I have to say that I’m glad that God’s word included these men’s failures. It would be tempting, as a writer, to whitewash the heroes of our faith, but I’m thankful that their sins were recorded alongside their successes. Second, it appears that the major difference in these men’s lives was that, even though they failed miserably sometimes, their lives were overall pointed at God. When God asked them to obey, they did so, often radically. Yes, they had their flaws – we all do – but still, they genuinely attempted to follow God’s will.
I must look no further than my own life to see such a paradox. I’ve failed spectacularly, destroying my life. Despite my failures though, as I’ve attempted to point my life at God, he’s restored everything. I certainly don’t deserve his blessings. Still, as I’ve chosen to point my life at God, daily attempting to follow his will, he’s granted me new life – despite all my sins, flaws, and failures.