Kintsugi is the Japanese art of restoring broken pottery by mending the breakage with lacquer mixed with precious metals like gold or silver. Kintsugi artists believe the damage gives identity and history to these everyday objects and it should not be minimized or hidden. I love this picture of taking something that is seemingly useless and instilling worth and meaning to it.
As I read my Bible, I see the way that God uses our everyday, mundane, chipped on the edges, or even shattered to pieces lives. In Psalm 51:17, David says, “The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. You will not despise a broken and humbled heart, God.” God often uses broken things.
For example, Jesus took a young boys bread and broke it. Then, and only then, was it used to feed 5,000+ people. A woman lovingly comes to Jesus breaking open her alabaster jar of perfume. Only then could its fragrance escape and fill the house–and the world. His last night before his execution, Jesus takes bread and says, “This is my body which was broken for you.” Even about Jesus’ death, Isaiah writes, “The Lord was pleased to crush him severely” (53:10). If such was the way that Jesus went, shouldn’t we follow.
In many ways our lives are fragile. Relationships can end with a wrongly worded message. Academic success can crumble with one exam. Loved ones are lost in an accident. Emotional health takes an unexplained nose dive. We are, as Paul describes, “jars of clay” (2 Cor 4). We are fragile everyday objects. But, that does not mean that we are worthless. Far from it. Paul says that we carry an incredible “treasure” in this jar of clay–“the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.”
Multiple things in my life have broken my heart and crushed my spirit. The strength to keep going has only come from taking my attention off of my circumstances and pressing on with the truth that I will know and see God for all eternity. In the mean time, I trust that he is doing something with all this mess, because I often feel incapable of putting the pieces back together.
God may be slow to change your circumstances because his goal is to change your character. He’s doing something with your pain and heartache that can only be called miraculous. Lay your shattered pieces before the one who uses such things, and God will make something beautiful out of your brokenness.
Psalm 34:18 — The Lord is near the brokenhearted; he saves those crushed in spirit.
2 Corinthians 4:16–18 — 16 Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. 17 For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. 18 So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.