Beauty in Brokenness

vase_2007_07_rainbow_flare_4x6Our stories in this age don’t always end like fairytales with a “happily ever after.”

I had a vision of a beautiful and expensive vase.  It was full of color and crafted magnificently.  It stood in the center of the room on a pedestal.  As I marveled at its beauty, the pedestal began to rock.  In my vision, I was helpless to stop it.  The vase began to totter and I knew that it would fall.  As the vase tilted from one side to the other, it was inevitable.  It fell from the pedestal and broke into many pieces.

Such a waste of beauty. . .broken pieces scattered across the floor.  I was sad.  

Then Jesus came into the room.  He began picking up the pieces of the magnificent vase.  I was so full of hope.  Jesus will do a miracle.  He will put the vase back together again.  It will be as good as new!

He picked up most of the broken pieces and then I was surprised.  He left some of the pieces.  I couldn’t communicate with Him.  I wanted to stop Him.  How could He put it all back together if He didn’t have all of the broken pieces?

Jesus left the room carrying most of the broken pieces in His robe.  I was left staring at the empty pedestal and a few remnant pieces of what used to be a priceless vase.  And then Jesus came back with something totally different and equally magnificent.

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Christ had taken the broken pieces and made a mosaic from them.  I couldn’t forget the vase, but Christ had taken what was broken and used it.  Wait, He didn’t just use it, He redeemed it.  Even, more, He created beauty from brokenness.

As I was writing down this vision, I received an email from one of our Malachi Network missionaries (www.malachinetwork.org) who is working in one of the darkest places on the planet.  Here is what she wrote:

Every time I walk the streets here I see pain. It stares me in the face. I almost feel like it hunts me down. I find myself thanking God for my sunglasses as I walk past people begging, those who are lame or disfigured, men who are beyond lonely and women who are selling their bodies – because my sunglasses hide my tears. I don’t want to be known as the lady who walks these streets crying all the time. But when I look into the eyes of each of these ones – each with his or her own story – each created in the image of God – and see the pain staring back at me – how can I not weep for them? And as my tears fall I remember that the very One who catches my tears weeps for them too – and He never looks away from their plight.

So today – as my tears freely fall – I am looking to Heaven and thanking God for both the pain and the glory. I’m thankful for the pain because it is so often what propels us deeper into His heart. And I’m thankful for the glory because it’s beautiful and it’s just a taste of what’s to come. And the truth is that the greatest beauty so often comes forth from the deepest pain. In the areas where redemption seems utterly lacking we must petition the courts of Heaven for it, love the ones in front of us, and truly believe that God will give beauty for ashes. Truly He delights in the work of redemption.

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About Rich Stevenson

Rich is the Executive Director of The Malachi Network (www.malachinetwork.org), a ministry focused on making the name of the LORD great among the nations. This network serves young leaders in missions and church planting. Prior to his present ministry, Rich pastored in Southern New Jersey, planted a church in Wilmore, KY, established a network of churches, served as an adjunct professor at Asbury College and was a senior leader at The International House of Prayer in Kansas City, MO as well as The International House of Prayer in Atlanta, GA. Rich is the author of two books: Secrets of the Spiritual Life—10 Lessons from the One Thing Passages (Baker Books, 2003) A Voice from Home—The Words You Long to Hear from Your Father (WaterBrook Press, 2005) He graduated from Asbury College in 1984 with a BA degree in Philosophy of Religion and Asbury Theological Seminary in 1987 with a Master of Divinity degree. In 2010, Rich received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Union Biblical Seminary in Yangon, Myanmar. Rich has been married to Tania since 1982 and they have been blessed by amazing children: Zachary and his wife Meghan, Jacob and his wife Lena, Jessica and Corrie Emma.
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