I want to be used by God. I pray regularly–daily even–that God would use my life in whatever way he chooses. I willing submit to his plan and have fervently pled with the Lord, “Use me! Make me a tool in your hand! I don’t want the glory or the fame. Just use me, please!”
Maybe this is you, too. Maybe nothing would please you more than to know that the Lord is using you to accomplish great things for his Kingdom–all for his glory. You just want to be an instrument in the Redeemer’s hand, a tool in His sovereign grasp.
A Note on Tools.
The first Christmas after I got married, my mother-in-law got me tools: a toolbox, screw-drivers, a hammer, wrenches, etc. Over the years, those tools have come in handy in hundreds of different ways. I’ve swung that hammer on construction sites. I’ve wrung those screw-drivers in furniture building projects. I’ve torqued the wrench under more than one leaky sink.
That tool box is no longer shiny and new. The tool handles are worn. Some are smudged with wood stain or paint. The hammer head is scratched from colliding with a thousand tiny nails. That’s what happens to tools when they get used. They get banged up. They get worn. They start to show wear.
In the book of Isaiah, the Lord boasts that even the mighty kings of the earth are tools in his hand. Speaking of the king of Assyria, he says, “Shall the axe boast over him who hews with it, or the saw magnify itself against him who wields it?” (Isaiah 10:15). Yes, the king of Assyria was mowing down entire forests of nations, but it was the Lord whose brawny arm was swinging him.
So You Want To Be an Axe?
Wouldn’t it be incredible if you were an axe in the mighty arm of the Lord? Think of the forests he could conquer through you! What mighty cedars and enemies of God could be laid low, if God would only pick you up and begin swinging. This is the life you want, right?
True, an axe in the hands of God can fell a massive sequoia, but think for a moment what the axe goes through. In order to chop down a mighty tree, an axe has to be beaten against the trunk over and over. WHAM. WHACK. THUD. Swing after swing, its bright paint is flecked. Its metal sheen grows dull. Its once sharp head gets dinged and worn. Its handle begins to grow smooth and dark with wear.
An axe can fell the mightiest trees in the forest, but its life is one of constant battering, conflict, and crashing against mighty opponents. It’s a jarring life of wear and tear. Which leads us to this point: When we ask God to make us useful tools in his hands, do we realize we are asking for a life of daily hardship, abuse, and pounding?
So often we practice double-speak–complaining about life’s trials out one side of our mouths and about how God isn’t using us out the other. Perhaps we could learn to treasure the difficulties and dings in our lives if we realized those are the telltale signs of a well-used instrument. The scars and bruises of life are the marks of answered prayers. Unused tools stay shiny and pristine. Favorite tools take a beating. However, when we arrive before the throne of God, those of us who bear the marks of Christ in our flesh will hear the words: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
The next time you are tempted to ask why life feels like God is smashing your head into a wall day after day, remember: that’s how an axe feels when it’s being used to fell an entire forest.