In the Broken Places

imageThe storm is wild enough for sailing, the bridge is weak enough to cross, this body frail enough for fighting, I’m home enough to know I’m lost. Home enough to know I’m lost. It’s just enough to be strong in the broken places, in the broken places. It’s just enough to be strong…” Jars of Clay – “Faith Enough”

I cannot shake the phrase…”broken places”. I keep hearing the words “the light can only shine through the broken places of the vessel”. It was just this morning that a dearly loved person sent me the picture posted here, and the words “another way of seeing beauty in the broken”.

“Beauty in the broken”. “The piece is more beautiful for having been broken”. Isn’t this what any great art does for us? It’s not just created to look beautiful. It is meant to make us feel something.

The Japanese believe when something has suffered damage, it can become more beautiful than before. The signifigance of that object has increased.

Those of us that have just returned from Uganda, that have had our hearts torn and our faith stretched; are we not better now from the experience? As others have asked, are we not broken but somehow better? Damaged but still significant? Incomplete and yet wonderful? Are we not feeling limited and yet filled with possibilities?

Has not God taken our broken pieces of life, our shattered hearts and filled those cracks with gold?image

So the statement is – “We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand” Isaiah 64:8 NLT.

And then the question becomes – how do I allow you Lord to pour your gold into the cracks and the broken places? To know that I have been dropped and kicked and marred and broken, yet you still see that I am valuable. You see that I am of great worth and your intentions for me are to be used for your greater good. That you intend to take this cracked and broken vessel and repair it with the finest gold. Gold that has been through the Refiner’s fire and will make this seemingly useless and simple piece of clay gleam and sparkle. A vessel used by the King of all kings. Formed in your hand for a higher purpose.

We have seen enough of the broken places to possibly last a lifetime. Perhaps there is more we need to see.

Some of us have cried enough for a lifetime or have we even begun to really cry? We walked on their streets and visited their homes. We listened to their dreams. We encouraged them to hope. We held them in our arms and kissed them on their cheeks. We laughed with them, even when we thought there was so little to laugh about. But here the laughter was real. It was genuine in a way that laughter is not many times where we live. I can hear the difference. I can feel the difference. Their laughter went down into some deep place in my soul. I can still hear it when I take the time to listen. To borrow a phrase…when I become still enough to tremble. That is when I hear what is most important.

It’s the sound of hope that is flowing through the cracked places. It is faint and then it is loud. And I don’t see the cracks any longer, I see the gold and it’s a vessel made whole. It has a higher purpose.

I will end this post with some more of the lyrics from the Jars of Clay song that spoke to me on more than one return from broken places…

“poor enough to gain the treasure, enough a cynic to believe. Confused enough to know direction, the sun eclipsed enough to shine. Be still enough to finally tremble. And see enough to know I’m blind”

“And see enough to know I’m blind”.

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