Broken Bags

Posted: January 25, 2016 in Uncategorized


images (1).jpegWe for months had eagerly been waiting for the grand opening of a new supermarket in our area. It appeared that it would be bigger than most of the other markets, and there would actually be parking for more than seven vehicles.

Now while the supermarkets in Haiti don’t compare in size to the ones in the States, (perhaps they could be called ‘baby supermarkets’) still there is much that we can get that reminds me of American supermarkets. I, of course, am thinking mainly of staples like chips, cookies, candy, soda… good old American junk food.

Grand Opening Day finally arrived. There was ample parking, the store was shiny nice and images6lots of products were ready to find their way into our cart. Now I don’t recall what we bought, but I do remember that it filled several of those plastic bags that stores use these days. And then it got interesting. We checked out, lifted up the plastic bags to leave the store and the bottoms of the bags simply gave way, split open, with all the contents, the groceries that we had just purchased, spilling onto the floor. The cashier and man that bagged the groceries apologized, the owner of the store apologized profusely and then I saw that other customers were having the same problem.

Imagine, opening day, you want to make a good, lasting impression. You want everything just right. You have sweated out hundreds of details and now the bags, purchased for this special day, are defective. They can’t hold what’s put in them.

A couple of days later as I was thinking about this little adventure, it occurred to me that I am like those bags that couldn’t hold their contents. God puts stuff in and somehow it doesn’t stay, when I need it, its not there. Instead of being full, I can be half full or almost empty.

I got thinking about several of the things that God wants us to be filled with:

  • Spirit of wisdom – Deuteronomy 34:9
  • Light and joy – Proverbs 13:9
  • Spirit and wisdom – Acts 6:3
  • Faith and the Holy Spirit – Acts 6:5
  • God’s grace and power – Acts 6:8
  • Joy and the Holy Spirit – Acts 13:52
  • Joy in the Lord – Philippians 4:4
  • Mercy and the fruit of good deeds – James 3:17

How I act, think, and the words that I say are good indicators of how full I am. For example: When patience is needed, but can’t be found. When words and thoughts that are hurtful and destructive don’t seem wrong. When fear rules. When cynicism pushes out compassion. When my desire for God, His word and time with Him has waned. When what is, is more real, than what can be. When grace is something I sing about but don’t show. When I forget in scripture that it says, “In Him we live, move and exist.” Acts 17:28. When I am joyless.

There are a couple of things that we can do to help prevent losing what we have received and often worked hard to obtain (to keep our bag from losing its contents). We can follow the example of King David and pray his prayers. Let’s be sure to be as intentional as possible. If you’re asking God to search, test and try you, then don’t run out before hearing what He has to say.  Don’t be in a rush. Psalm 139:23,24

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Psalm 26:2

Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; test my heart and my mind.


Psalm 51: 10-12

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.What can a Bag Man do when finally he sees, what others have seen all along. How can the emptied be refilled? How can the broken be fixed? How can the hole be repaired? I know of no other way than to go to the source, God. 

We must, as well, follow the example of Jesus found in Luke 5:16

But Jesus often went away to be by himself and pray.


Charles Stanley said it well,

Your life is going to be determined by your prayer life.


Pay attention to the signs, if your desire to pray, and be in His word and presence has dwindled, then you can be sure that you will find it impossible to ‘walk in the Spirit’ as we are told to do.  Your thoughts and actions will have changed and you most likely won’t see and know it. It is in the place of prayer, the quiet place, the daily time, that the Holy Spirit illuminates our lives and we see. And for most, that is what it takes to begin restoration, and renewal, to be refilled. Once we see, we know, and once we know, we begin the process of reclaiming what we once had and adding even more of God’s goodies (graces and disciplines) as well.

John (broken bag but working on it) McHoul








  1. Brandon says:


    That pierced my heart. Thanks for the encouragement and a blunt reality check.

  2. leeann172 says:

    Wow John. That really spoke to my heart. I’ll definitely be rereading this one.  thank you so much for taking the time to put together these blogs and share them with us. Leeann BergeronFrom 2 Lifetree trips:)

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

  3. Michelle Kleinsasser says:

    Such amazing words and, as always, just when I needed them!

  4. kathycassel says:

    God bless you John.

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