(By Michelle Snippe)
It crashed to the ground, shattering into a million pieces.
It was my favorite salad bowl. And my dear young son, who had been carrying it from the parked camping trailer in our driveway back into our house, looked nearly shattered himself over what he had done.
After some words of comfort, and the assurance I wasn’t angry, we got the broom and dustpan, swept up all the pieces, and with hardly a second thought, tossed the shards into the trash.
Since that day many years ago, there have been several things in our home that have broken. And, come to think of it, most of those broken things have all ended up in the very same place as my salad bowl; in the garbage. After all, isn’t that where broken things go?
Broken toy? Trash.
Broken chair? To the curb.
Broken mug? Out it goes.
And those are just physical things. What about the intangible?
Broken friendship? Toss it aside.
Broken family? May as well dump that, too.
Broken life? Worthless.
Is this what we think? That all broken things belong in the same category? That all fractured pieces are inevitably garbage? Irreparable? That may be the lie the devil wants us to believe, but that certainly isn’t God’s truth!
Recently, while thinking again of broken things, I was reminded of a unique, ancient Japanese pottery repair process I learned about many years ago.
It is called Kintsugi or Kintsukuroi.
Both are Japanese words, literally translated to mean “golden joinery” or “golden repair” and are an art technique where cracked or broken pottery is mended using a lacquer mixed with powdered gold. The art is performed, not only to fix the break, but to make the item more striking and valuable than it was before. The philosophy behind the art is to showcase the breaks rather than hide them, understanding that the piece becomes more beautiful for having been broken.
Fascinating, isn’t it?
So, what if we applied this intricate art technique to our lives in a spiritual way? Because doesn’t it capture perfectly what God can do with our personal brokenness?
Where you and I see a pile of broken life pieces, He sees them as an opportunity to make something new. Our God is the God of new things!
Isaiah must have been delighted to carry this message of hope to the Israelite people in their brokenness…
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
And John was likely filled with awe and wonder as he heard these words from the throne of heaven recorded in Revelation 21:5:
Behold, I am making all things new.
When life knocks us hard and leaves us broken to the point of what seems beyond repair, God is right there to pick up all the pieces. He doesn’t sweep us up and throw us away. He doesn’t pronounce us worthless, tossing us aside. No!
Contrary to what the master liar would have us believe, God tenderly picks up every one of our fragments and, through His golden grace, makes us new. He makes us something better. Something more beautiful for having been broken.
If we’re honest, we’ve all been broken at one point or another in our lives. Maybe you’re in a million pieces on the ground even as you read. The reality is the church is filled with broken women; many of whom will go to great lengths to conceal their brokenness, their wounds, their cracks and their scars.
Because in exposing them, they fear being tossed aside just as is the habit of doing with all of our other broken things.
Maybe this is what the Psalmist feared when he cried these words in Psalm 31:12,
“I have been forgotten like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel.”
If you feel broken, can I compassionately divert your heart from the lie the devil wants you to believe—that you and your broken pieces are worthless—and fill it with the truth of God’s word? Can I remind you that your brokenness doesn’t have to be hidden because it isn’t the end of your story?
Our God of healing and restoration wants to take every one of your pieces and put them back together, interlaced with His fine gold, to make you into a fairer vessel than you ever were before. A vessel more beautiful for having been broken. And, He does so, so people will be in awe of Him (Ecclesiastes 3:14).
You are never shattered beyond repair. After all, our God is the Master Kintsugi artist. He makes everything beautiful in its time. And, whatever God does endures forever (Ecclesiastes 3:11, 14).