During difficulties and trials people will often say things like “everything happens for a reason.” Or “all things work together for good…” While both of these statements are true, when you are in the midst of heartache or despair, they aren’t the easiest things to hear or see.
Many people I know have had to and currently are walking through some very dark places. There can be times when we feel caught in a pit and we can’t see a way out. As followers of Jesus, we are being refined every day to be more like Him. I have always imagined the refining process like being put into a pot of water. The heat is slowly turned up, and slowly the junk comes to the surface and we are refined. There have been times in my life when I asked God multiple times if He was using a chisel on me. I imagined Him with the chisel in hand, saying lets take off this whole piece here. It can be painful and often times lonely. We can feel like we are being stripped of everything. And all that is left is God, and in those darkest places, He proves to be so faithful.
Remarkably it is during these seasons in my life I have witnessed more miracles big and small. There is something about trials and suffering that if we press into the Lord, He will demonstrate His love to us in incredible ways that we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to see. Many times the miracles come in the 11th hour and in both simple and profound ways. For me one such miracle was through an incredible song by Hillsong called Broken Vessels. Here are a few of the lines that really stand out:
“All these pieces, broken and scattered, in mercy gathered, mended and whole, empty handed, but not forsaken…you take our failure, you take our weakness, you set your treasure, in jars of clay, so take this heart, Lord, I’ll be your vessel, the world to see, your love in me.”
And there it was…a beautiful miracle in the brokenness… A gift though a song. You see, 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 says this: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed..”
The jars of clay are us, our bodies. Crafted together from dust by the Creator. And just like the potter, He shapes and forms us into vessels to demonstrate His love to the world. And as Jesus followers His light shines in us and through us.
Imagine with me a jar made of clay.
If you put a candle in it, where would the light shine? Through the top.
Now smash that jar of clay, and what happens? It breaks into a bunch of pieces. If we were to take all those pieces and glue them back together, we would be left with a jar with a bunch of cracks in it. And what would people say if they saw that jar? Would they think it had worth? Would they accept it? No, they would feel it was no longer useful and it would likely be discarded. And if the jar could share what would it say? Probably the same things. It probably would feel worthless.
I think that’s true for many of us as we walk through trials. We can feel so alone, abandoned. We wonder why.
But lets put the candle back into our broken jar and what happens?
Not only does the light come through the top but it shines all around through all the broken pieces.
I have learned that God in His mercy sometimes allows us to be broken. We may feel completely devastated and useless during the season of brokenness. But in His incredible mercy He gathers (if we let Him) all our broken pieces and puts them together. And in the end, our brokenness allows His light to shine even brighter through us. And we are broken vessels demonstrating God’s love to a world who so desperately needs Him.
Looking back over the different trials of life, I have come to a place of thankfulness. I thank God that He has allowed me to be broken. My faith has been strengthen and my prayer is my brokenness would be used for the sake of His Kingdom.
My hope for you is the next time you are going through a season of suffering that you will see that there is beauty in brokenness.