Beauty in Brokenness

One article that i came across :

Recently, I attended a retreat where there was a great deal of personal sharing. I sat amazed as I listened to women from every walk of life, most of whom were established Christians, share of heartache, pain, and various aspects of struggle they had either just come through, or were currently experiencing. I was overwhelmed by their honesty and by the poignancy of their stories. But even more than this, I was overwhelmed by the beauty radiating from within as they shared their stories.

Beauty in brokenness? Without glorifying suffering, there is an unexpected beauty that can shine through stories of struggle.

One friend is a paraplegic broken in the use of her body, and yet she has a beautiful spirit. Not limited by her brokenness, she uses her own difficulties to help others, and teach others about true ability and disability.

Tony Snow, the White House Press Secretary, considers his cancer a “calling” and in a recent article written in Christianity Today said, “We are fallen. We are imperfect. Our bodies give out. But despite this–because of it-–God offers the possibility of salvation and grace.”(1)

That possibility of salvation and grace is beauty in brokenness.

Somehow, uniquely, God desires to use those difficult moments of our lives to bring forth something extraordinarily beautiful. Even the natural creation attests to this truth. In fall, we marvel at the gorgeous, lush colors of burnt amber, burnished orange, brilliant red, and bright yellow leaves, even as that beauty belies the slow and gradual death of those leaves. Winter buries those leaves under the cold, dark blanket of snow and frost. And yet, death brings forth life. Spring bursts forth year after year with jonquils, iris, lilies, and all the beautiful pastels of new life.

During a time of deep despair and suffering, King David wondered about God’s ability to be present in his dark places–to bring about beautiful redemption in the midst of brokenness.

He cried out to God, “Will your lovingkindness be declared in the grave, your faithfulness in Abaddon? Will your wonders be made known in the darkness? And your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?” (Psalm 88:11-12).

David wondered about God’s work in his life–had he been abandoned? Was God still guiding him even in the deepest, darkest places of brokenness and fear? And even in those places seemingly forgotten, would God continue to make things right? David struggled to see how beauty could emerge out of brokenness.

And yet, he later affirmed in Psalm 139, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there… if I say, ’surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”It is in those dark places of brokenness and suffering that God brings forth luminous light so that even the dark is illuminated.

 

The prophet Isaiah repeats this theme by promising one who would redeem the exiles, giving them “a garland of beauty instead of ashes” and “the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord… who summons you by name” (Isaiah 61:3, 45:3).

Perhaps, these were Scriptures recalled by the apostle Paul when he declared that “we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:7-9).

Indeed, Paul declares that “the God who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the one who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (4:6).

And so often, that face of Christ is demonstrated with beautiful radiance through the broken and dark places in our lives.

Today, if you are experiencing hardship, difficulty or personal darkness, seek the light and beauty of Christ, for he longs to be present to you, to give you a garland of beauty instead of ashes, to call you by name, and to bring forth treasures of darkness. He is there in the brokenness with you.

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