The Art of Making Brokenness Beautiful
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies." - 2nd Corinthians 4:7-10
We live in a culture that is currently shining a spotlight on brokenness. Dealing with the destruction that is ever before us. Our mistakes. Our challenges. Our sins and the sins of others. But after a moment in the spotlight, the question remains - what becomes of the person whose pain and suffering has been thrown centerstage? The staggering disclosure of the evil done to them is too often done for show. Other times in a vain attempt to seek healing, desperate to make everything "ok" again. While it's true that there is freedom as secrets hidden in the dark are exposed to light... A simple pronouncement of our brokenness is only one step on a very long journey to healing and restoration. In our instant culture, we are left wondering why we can't just go back to how we were before. Or shame and intense depression set in for those who saw this confession or profession as their last hope, who saw their salvation - hoping that if one single person would believe their story...
But the truth is that our brokenness is much deeper than that. And it takes a special kind of person to walk the long arduous journey beside someone who wrestles with loss, illness, addiction, abuse, their own sin, or as a person who has been marginalized. It's a journey of great beauty, but one that is not often celebrated today.
And yet a unique opportunity lies before us to be those people- to speak joy. To speak hope. To speak life. For healing lies not in and of ourselves, but in what looked like tragedy and defeat. God has seen. And provided. The stone was rolled away. And the empty tomb has changed everything. And that would have been enough... But God has promised we would never walk alone and has come to make his dwelling not just among us, but in us. And so we, who are these broken vessels, carry with us the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, for his Spirit lives in us. Our identity is secure. We can be at rest.
In Japan, when a teapot, a vase, a bowl falls to the ground and shatters... It is not thrown away. Rather it is made more valuable. The traditional art form of "Kintsugi" binds up the broken pieces by using a type of liquid gold or liquid silver. Each repaired vessel becomes even more unique and precious. The scars of the past now proudly displayed, instead of hidden away. It is a slow process and reminds us each step of the way not to to loose heart or throw away the broken among us. God is keeping his promise: "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."
The journey is long. When we are discouraged, afraid, tempted to give up, God has given us the most precious gift of all - himself. We look to the cross. To the empty tomb. And so we see the masterpiece that is being rendered, as life and everlasting love are being spoken over us. As wounds become scars. And those scars are not hidden in shame but instead become agents of healing in a broken world. As the ordinary of every day life gives way to a truly precious work of art, a unique and valuable masterpiece. This time is different. There is One who is making all things new.