Recently, during my times of meditation and reflection, I have taken special note of the brokenness that God has chosen to illustrate divine beauty. Of course there is the obvious example of Christ: broken in crucifiction to bring the beauty that comes in the form of our eternal hope. This one incredible example of battered perfection stands as an icon in a world of exquisite imperfections.
Sarai’s barren womb conceived the Israeli patriarch and one of the first prominent faces of the covenant of grace, Isaac.
Martha and Mary’s mourning over the loss of their brother was not only turned into rejoicing over his resurrection but it brought further solidarity to the earthly ministry of Christ and birthed faith and expectation that has lived in the hearts of millions of believers for over two thousand years.
Laban’s broken promise to Jacob could have been crushing but instead it served as proof of a man’s commitment and faithfulness to the woman his heart desired, Rachel.
God promises a crown of beauty to replace the ashes of mourning but I am convinced that there is beauty in the ashes themselves. The life cycle of a tree that has been sacrificed to fire has likely provided shade and shelter to the fatigued, it’s budding branches have symbolized the hope that dawns with each new season to those who have lost sight of a bright future, and the flame that reduced it to a soft, downy gray powder has provided light and warmth to comfort the weary. The ashes of mourning may be a token of the beauty that God promises to his children but, to those willing to embrace the present, a more intimate understanding of grace can unfold and reveal layers upon layers of wisdom and depth of relationship with the Creator. There is a transformation of perspective so profound that it cannot be fully comprehended by the mortal mind.
In my limited understanding of the supernatural, I’ve become entirely more aware of the preciousness of my surroundings and the people God has placed in them to enrich my life. To the artist, the concept of broken beauty is both simple and intricate in a mosaic. To the “green” DIYer, an upcycled barn beam turned into a mantle brings a spark to their eye and many warm memories shared around the hearth. To a bride, the lace from great-grandma’s stained and torn wedding gown that trims her something-old-something-new handkerchief is an heirloom she will cherish forever.
The circumstances that I have enjoyed or endured, overcome or barely survived… the have all wrought value in my life. Some have built me up, others have torn me down. Each one has contributed to my character. I have evolved from an optimist to a skeptic to someone who embraces peace in every situation and welcomes divine grace. This life comes with struggles and challenges but each day is a gift. A gift that I want to receive with open arms.