Beauty From Broken Glass
                                                     BEAUTY FROM BROKEN GLASS
                                                                  by Mary Beth Berry

Often we have heard that God makes beauty from ashes - that He uses the hard times in our lives to
mold us and purify us just like a goldsmith might heat up the gold to burn the impurities out.   Those hard
times may or may not have resulted from direct choices that we made.  However we usually want to ask
the question, “Why?”  We ask, “What should I have done differently to prevent this pain?  I thought I was
following God’s leading but I must have been mistaken.  Now how do I trust myself to be listening and
hearing God’s leading in my life?”  We seem to think that if things are going well for us, we must be in
avoiding pain and discomfort.
God, however seems to be interested in developing our character and deep dependence on Him which
will in turn develop in us deep strength and peace that cannot be shaken.  He is interested in
transforming us into reflections of Himself and His most beautiful glory.
Let’s consider a beautiful glass vase.  The vase represents my life.  I know that God created the vase
according to His design and His purpose.  For much of my life, I have been trying to cooperate with God
as He is making me into a beautiful vase.  A vessel filled with His Holy Spirit that can be poured out as
love to others.  I understand that I am supposed to take care of myself as His vessel and to appreciate
what God has made.  But life comes along and the vase that is my life develops a crack.  Maybe the crack
is from an internal weakness or from a direct hit from outside.  All that was held within leaks out and I try
to hide the unsightly crack.  I had wanted to be a beautiful, useful vessel for God.  Now I am useless for
holding liquids and am marred.  However, I can now be recycled as a great candle holder.  The light from
the candle of the Holy Spirit within me can be seen all the better through my “crack.”   I’m a bit
disappointed.  I wanted to be the perfect, elegant vase.  But, I guess I’ll settle for being a “cracked pot”
with God’s light shining through me.  However, more and more cracks keep coming.  As I get older, I
notice cracks that were there all the time, but I never had the eyes to see them.  This does not seem to be
fair!  I thought the idea was to become more like Jesus over time, not to become more broken and
“aged.”  Sometimes, shattered is a better word than cracked to describe the vase of my life. A glass vase
completely and totally shattered, nothing left of the original vase at all, just the colored glass or pottery in a
heap on the floor.
Maybe this is when God does His most amazing work.  Maybe God is up to something totally different.  
Maybe instead of fixing the old broken vase, He is planning to make something more amazing and more
beautiful than we could have ever imagined.  He is not likely to force those shattered pieces from our
hand.  But if we will hand them over to Him, make the broken pieces of our lives our offering to Him,
maybe, just maybe, He will glean great joy in transforming us. Think about a beautiful mosaic or the most
beautiful stained glass window you’ve ever seen.  Awesome beauty!!  And it is all the more lovely with the
light shining through!  Maybe the broken pieces of my life will get to be part of a beautiful creation that only
God can imagine.  Can I trust Him to make the best decision of how to use my offering of shattered glass
in His creation?  Can I trust Him to value each piece and to truly understand the pain that comes with the
offering?  Can I release all the questions and bitterness about the fate of my original vase and trust Him
to transform my life into whatever He thinks is best rather than what I have envisioned for myself?  These
are really hard questions and sometimes take quite a bit of wrestling to settle.  But peace finally comes
with relinquishing the end results to the One who created us in the first place.  Maybe some of us will get
transformed into stained glass, a part of an amazing work that God is doing.  
Might it also be possible that the work God is planning to do with us and in us is more important than our
avoidance of pain?   We will not get to experience the joy of cooperating with Him if we blame Him, resist
Him, and fight against Him.  I do not personally believe God inflicts pain on us (or throws the vase to
shatter it) but I do believe that He is powerful enough to prevent it.  When He chooses not to prevent it, it
must be that He has a better plan, a plan for transformation.  Remember when the children in The Lion.
Witch and Wardrobe, were asking about the great king Aslan,  “Is He safe?,” they asked.  “No.” was the
response, “But, He is good.”
So, could it possibly be that when we think we are “in God’s will” and trying with our hearts to honor and
depend on Him, we might still make some decisions that lead to disaster and STILL be in His will? I
think so. Is the depth of our faith measured by the “blessings” in our life or by the lack of pain?  I don’t
think so.  Surely our faith can be strengthened by difficult times but I believe that difficult times can and will
come to those who already have a strong faith.  The blessings that God has in mind for His children that
trust Him through glass shattering times promise to be better than the benefits of having avoided the
glass shattering in the first place.  This is hard to believe in the midst of trouble, but gives me hope when
I get completely beyond repair and feel like shattered glass.
Our God can be trusted, even when He has allowed life to shattered us, even when we have nothing to
offer but shattered pieces of broken glass.  He is the great transformer. He may chose to use the pieces
of our lives to create the most awesome stained glass window- something beyond my wildest
imagination!!  


(thanks to Jana Spika who smashed a vase as an object lesson at one of her wonderful conferences and
got me thinking this way, thanks to Beth Moore for lessons learned through her Bibile studies and to Pete
and Geri Scazzaro for insights about pain and “hitting the wall”.)