Scattered pieces of ceramic lay all over my kitchen floor.
Within seconds, I had a clumsy moment of taking out a jar from an already overpacked cupboard. In the process, I knocked a bottle off the shelf, which perfectly landed on the plate below on the counter. You get the idea!
Just like that, I lost another plate! It’s not the first time I’ve had one of these kitchen incidents!
A bit annoyed at myself, I got out the dustpan and broom. As I was sweeping up the mess, I started thinking of the word, broken.
Broken instantly gives off a negative connotation. We don’t like when things are broken. From household appliances to cars, kids’ toys to home decor, we humans would rather avoid things breaking.
When it comes to our hearts, we equally don’t like the idea of being broken. It might make us think of failed relationships, times when we weren’t good enough to make the sports team, getting a low score on an important exam, or not getting the job promotion.
Like my plate, the scattered pieces remind us that not only do things around us and within our hearts break, but sadly our world is in a condition of brokenness. Nevertheless in God’s mercy, there is hope and we don’t have to stay permanently in a state of being broken.
I think of Jesus’ head and feet being anointed in tears and then by lovely scented perfume. (Mark 14:3, Luke 7:37-38) That expensive jar would have been broken and that was the only way Mary could have given Jesus such an act of love and kindness.
At the last Passover meal, Jesus broke bread and told his disciples to eat it as a remembrance for the breaking of His body on the cross. The wine was also symbolic representing His blood. (Mark 14:22-24)
Even in the garden of Gethsemane before He was arrested, Jesus prayed and asked God if there was any other way to save mankind, besides dying on a cross. (Mark 14:35-36) The humanity of Jesus didn’t want to face the brokenness but as the Son of God, He allowed himself to trust God’s rescue plan, even though that meant He would suffer and die for us.
Let’s be honest, no one wants to experience brokenness, but all of us have or will face it in one way or another. Whether in small ways or large, life happens and with it, broken pieces of our hearts can be dispersed around us.
Your broken pieces might look like a lost job, with the overwhelming feeling of wondering how to keep up the mortgage payments. Or as much as you love your kids, some days of having them constantly home in lockdown is exhausting your mental health to cope well as a parent. Perhaps you’ve experienced a bereavement and are wondering how to grief in a season of isolation. Maybe the uncertainty of our world at large makes you anxious and brings many questions of what life will look like ahead.
Our saving grace is found fully in Jesus Christ. He has already been through every type of brokenness imaginable and He promises to be with us through the troubles of this life. And He also tells us to, “Take heart I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33)
One of my favourite Gospel passages is found in John 20:24-31 when Jesus appears to his disciple Thomas. The other disciples told him first that they had seen the Lord, but Thomas refused to believe Jesus had risen until he saw the nail marks in Jesus’ hands and the wound at His side. Jesus comes a second time to visit the disciples and grants Thomas his request to see and touch his broken scars and with that, he believes that Jesus was resurrected. Jesus doesn’t scold Thomas but rather meets him right at his heart’s point of need.
We all have moments of doubt just like Thomas. We sometimes let fear gain the highest place in our lives. Jesus meets us in our weakness, in our fear, in our brokenness. May God, in His mercy and compassion, show us that He can make beauty out of our broken pieces.
I love this prayer from The Lion Book Of 1000 Prayers For Children, called Broken Bits #623, author anonymous. Let us pray:
Father, take all the broken bits of our lives:
Our broken promises;
Our broken friendships;
Our differences of opinion;
Our different backgrounds, and shapes and sizes;
And arrange them together,
Fitting them into each other to make something beautiful
Like an artist makes a stained glass window.
Make a design
Even when all we can see are the broken bits.