Thursday, February 25, 2016

God Uses Broken Things

Some years ago, I was laid up for a month with complications from surgery. During that time in my life, I was not only struggling physically, but also emotionally and spiritually. Circumstances had left me feeling broken and useless, ready to be thrown on the garbage heap of life.

I remembered as a child watching my grandfather mend a broken china cup with Elmer's Glue. It could be used again, but the break lines still showed. It was no longer as beautiful as it once was. That's how I felt.

Flat on my back, unable to go anywhere, I could only attend "Bedside Assembly" on Sunday morning, that being interpreted as "I watched a church service on TV." It was a divine appointment. In his sermon that morning, the TV pastor told a story I'll never forget. It changed my life.

For many centuries, through many dynasties, a village was known for it fragile, expensive porcelain. Especially striking were its urns. High as tables, wide as chairs, they were admired around the world for their strong form and delicate beauty.

Legend has it that when each urn was finished, there was one final step. The artist deliberately broke it and then put it back together with gold filigree. An ordinary urn was thus turned into a priceless work of art.

What seemed finished wasn't until it was broken!

People throw broken things away, but God never uses anything until He first breaks it.

Martha Pittlekow describes God's process well in her little poem:

I don't know why, but God uses broken things.
He'll take some worn-out strings and from them make a melody ring.
He'll take a broken life and put it back together again.
God uses broken things. There's nothing He can't mend.

Why does God use only broken vessels? A vessel is only a container--something to be filled. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:7, "We have this treasure [of Christ's gospel] in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God, and not of us.:"

God does not want us to be full of ourselves. He wants to fill us with a treasure--His presence, His glory, and His grace. If we are not broken, people will only see us. But when we have been broken, people can see GOD shining through us.

God allowed me to be broken so He could make me into a vessel of honor for His greater use. He took my brokenness and put me back together again--with gold filigree! It still brings tears to my eyes when I think of what the Lord has done in my life.

If you try to glue a piece of Waterford crystal back together, it will never "sing" again.

If you mend a broken china dish, the ugly lines will show.

God doesn't cover up the cracks in our lives. The cracks are still there for all to see, but He fills them with gold filigree and makes us into something even more beautiful. Everyone will exclaim, "Look what the Artist has done!"

As Bill and Gloria Gaither penned and set to music a song that has been a favorite through the years,

Something beautiful! Something good!
All my confusion He understood;
All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife,
But He made something beautiful of my life.

Have you found this to be true in your life? I'd love to hear about it.

For more stories of how God makes beauty out of the ashes of lives, check out my books at Even my novels are based on true stories of God's transforming power.


  1. Thank you, Deb! Love that verse in Isaiah, "He gave me beauty for ashes..."