This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Jeremiah 18:1-4 (NIV)
When my dad passed away, I was given a cross that belonged to him but had been hanging in his sister’s house for years. It originally belonged to his mother, the grandmother I never met. This cross is more to me than just a representation of all that Jesus did to allow me to call Him Father; it reminds me of my earthly father and my love for him. A few years ago, in the middle of the night, I heard a huge bang that was loud enough to wake me. I woke Howard, of course, because I wanted him to check to see if someone was breaking into the house. I jumped out of bed and stood in our bedroom shaking as Howard checked the house to determine the cause of the noise. When Howard returned, he reported that he could not find the source of the noise, but assured me that we were safe. So we got back in bed and went back to sleep.
The next morning, I went into my study as I always do and found my dad’s cross lying on the floor in a million pieces. I immediately fell to my knees crying. Howard walked in as I was gathering every small piece I could pick up to put into a plastic bag. He hurt for me because he knew the sentimental value of the cross, and how sad I was that it was broken. No matter how much I cried or how much I wanted to put all the pieces back together, I could not!
When I think about how much I cherished my dad’s cross, I find myself comparing the broken cross to times in my life when I myself have felt so broken. Times when my life seemed to be in a million pieces with no hope of ever feeling whole again. During those times, no matter how I tried, I could not put the pieces of my life back together. Instead, I found myself going to my Savior and asking Him to take all that I had and make something of it. Only then did I find His peace.
There’s a difference between suffering and brokenness even though they feel the same. I may suffer because of something that has happened to me, but brokenness is something I experience within. In other words, brokenness is when I come to the end of myself and choose to love nothing more than God. When I come to God broken, God is able to take the broken pieces of my life and make them into something beautiful. God reminds us that He can take ashes and turn them into something beautiful. God can take the hurts, disappointments, and shame to create a story that will bring Him the most glory. God is able to take a broken life and restore it to a life that has purpose. I’m a great example of God using a broken life to display His glory and His power.
Remember my dad’s cross that was broken into a million pieces on the floor of my study? Some time later, a sweet lady was at my house helping me decorate for Christmas, and our conversation turned to my dad’s broken cross. She said, “My son loves to take broken things to try to restore them to their original state. Let me take the pieces you collected and give them to him.” So I gave her the bag of broken pieces while thinking there was no way her son could restore my dad’s antique plaster cross. When she returned the cross, I was amazed!
Every day as I sit in my study underneath the cross her son restored, I’m reminded of another Son that took the pieces of my life and made me beautiful in His time. He restored all the brokenness. If you look closely at the cross in my study, you are able to see where the pieces were put together. As with my dad’s cross, if you look closely at me, you may see where Jesus restored the broken pieces of my life to make something beautiful. My life is beautiful because it represents the truth that God’s Son took all that seemed lost and made me whole again. Are you willing to recognize all the brokenness in your life and give it to Jesus? He is able to make your life into something beautiful.
When I look at my dad’s cross, I’m in awe of a young man who was gifted enough to make it look new. When I look at the brokenness of my past, I’m in awe of the Son of God who took my broken life and made me whole again. It’s easy to ignore the brokenness when you stand in awe of the One who is able to take a broken life and restore it to a beautiful life. God desires for you to give Him all that you are—even if you feel broken into a million pieces—so that He can make something beautiful out of your life.