It was A. W. Tozer, who once said, “God cannot use a man until He hurts him deeply.” I’ve heard others quote this statement in the past and must admit, found it offensive. On the surface, it seems to stand in direct opposition to my understanding of God’s nature.
In 1John, we are told that God is love. In Jeremiah 29: 11, we read, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” In both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, the loving nature of God is revealed. Yet, A. W. Tozer speaks, at least upon first glance, of God being vengeful and sadistic – inflicting pain upon those He claims to love.
However, I have now come to embrace this very idea I once found abhorrent. I now find myself praying that God would “hurt me deeply,” so that he may use me mightily. I’ve come to understand the single obstacle which stands between God and man is pride. Until one dies to one’s self, he will always be the focus of his life, and that is why God cannot use him.
It is only when a man is raised up to new life in Christ, that his heart, his thoughts, his actions, his very life are transformed from selfish motives to selfless service! And so, I now pray, break me, Lord, “Hurt me deeply,” so that I might be useful as an instrument of your grace and love to a broken and hurting world.