I needed to heal. It took a long time, and sometimes I still feel like a broken arm that wasn’t reset before it healed. Things don’t line up exactly like they should…or at least like they used to.

My sister broke her arm when we were young. We took her to the hospital, of course, and they reset it beautifully. But to this day, she has a knot where the bone fused back together. That spot is stronger than any other part of the bone.

The brokenness
is what God uses.

We don’t want to be broken, and when we are broken, we try so hard to get back to wholeness. We want things to return to how they were before the traumatic experience or situation that broke us. We want to stop being broken. We rush to heal, thinking God can use us more effectively if we are whole, but the brokenness is what God uses. The brokenness eventually makes us stronger and, yes, better.

Jesus broke the five little loaves of bread before he fed the 5,000.

Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Matthew 14:19

This miracle, which blessed well over 5,000 people, required brokenness.

At the Last Supper, he broke bread again, saying, “Take it. This is my body” (Mark 14:22). Just like the bread was broken, He would be broken. For them…for us.

What would “Amazing Grace” be without the brokenness? “I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.” Lostness, blindness—all forms of brokenness.

1995-mosaic in Rome
mosaic image in Rome, Italy (c) Carole Sparks

At the same time, God doesn’t want us to dwell in our brokenness. When we’re holding the pieces of our own broken lives, we can’t help but be self-centered: trying to keep up with all those pieces, constantly cutting our hands on the shards. We pray, saying, “Dear Lord, can we please make this conversation about me?”

We can’t get beyond ourselves. That’s idolatry.

We can’t move forward. That’s disobedience.

Jesus can’t begin assembling the
mosaic until we hand him the pieces.

In giving the broken pieces of our lives to Jesus, we demonstrate we no longer want to be the main subject of our brokenness. Jesus can’t begin assembling that mosaic until we hand him the pieces. All the pieces.

Like a mosaic made from bits of broken tile, Jesus re-creates us into something more interesting and more durable. (Consider a regular tiled floor compared to a mosaic of tiles on the floor.) There is, in that rebuilding, a shift from reflecting his image to bearing his image.

When Jesus is our artist,
the image is Himself.

In the clearest, shiny tile floor, you can see a vague reflection of yourself. (Remember the Mr. Clean commercials?) In a mosaic, the artist constructs the floor with a permanent image. When Jesus is our artist, the image is Himself.

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory

12-03 stained glass window at Lennon-Seney U.M.C. - Jesus light
at a local church (c) Carole Sparks

Stained glass is the same. The artist takes large sheets of rather boring colored glass and cuts or breaks them to assemble into beautiful images. The solid piece of glass has a reflection. The assembled stained glass has an image. But the artist can’t create the image without breaking the glass.

Can we stop trying to push against the brokenness? Can we stop trying to hold onto all the pieces by ourselves? It’s not an overnight solution (neither is an artist creating a mosaic), but when we give the pieces to Jesus, He uses them to create a beautiful image of Himself in our lives.

Smooth, shiny tile reflects an image. Broken tile in a mosaic bears an image. When the image belongs to Jesus, the broken tile is better. My #brokenness is #NotAboutMe via @Carole_Sparks. (click to tweet)

Can you think of another example in the Bible of breaking something for our good? Have you known mending/rebuilding after brokenness? Want to share a little of how God restored you? We would love to hear it. Please use the comment section below to share what’s on your heart.

06-01 dragon mosaic
One of my children made this dragon mosaic in elementary school. (c) Carole Sparks
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8 thoughts on “Brokenness and Image-Bearing

  1. We saw some beautiful examples of centuries old mosaics in Israel and Jordan this past December. As for another example from the Bible, what about when Mary broke the alabaster bottle of perfume to anoint Jesus?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow! I’d never considered the difference between a mere reflection and the necessity to be broken in order for my pieces to be fashioned into a permanent image. This is a powerful and refreshing post, Carole!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Mary. I had never thought about it before either–even when I began writing this post. As often happens, what God had me write was not what I started out to write…and because it’s from Him, it’s much better.

      Like

  3. LOVED this post!

    I retweeted with sharing button at bottom of post. The embedded click to tweet didn’t work for me. There was no link at my end…

    Mary Albers Felkins

    Mary’s Musings~Story-Style Devos

    From: Not About Me Reply-To: Not About Me Date: Saturday, March 2, 2019 at 12:33 PM To: Subject: [New post] Brokenness and Image-Bearing

    Carole Sparks posted: “I needed to heal. It took a long time, and sometimes I still feel like a broken arm that wasn’t reset before it healed. Things don’t line up exactly like they should…or at least like they used to. My sister broke her arm when we were young. We took her t”

    Liked by 1 person

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