The sun was shining through the hundreds pieces of glass, making rainbows of colour. Diamonds, rubies, sparkles of a thousand different gems. The different shapes and sizes formed an elaborate and modern piece of art. Amazing.

Almost forgot where I was. Not in an art gallery, that’s for sure!

I was in East Africa, teaching prospective missionaries how to tell Bible stories. The small house — packed with students — looked like all the others. Dusty dirt road. African trees, with African mosquitoes. And a hazy African sky.

Like many houses in this part of Africa, the yard was fenced with a concrete wall — to keep the kids and dogs in. And hundreds of pieces of broken glass were cemented on top of the wall – to keep the thieves out!

And as the sun set, the wall slowly changed into an art work. As the sun shone through the different shapes and sizes, the wall became alive with colour. Who would have thought that broken pieces of glass could be so beautiful, and be useful too?

And there, in the regular African house-with-a-view, while staring at the unintended glass art work, God drew me into His thoughts and showed me something profound:

Bottles lying around would not have had the same effect, would it? I suppose you could throw a bottle at a thief. But the broken pieces were a much more effective deterrent to keep prospective thieves out.

And then, God took my breath away — those bottles had to be broken in order to become beautiful works of art.

I don’t want to be broken to be beautiful, thank you very much. That was my first thought. But, I am already broken — my second thought.

God, can you really use me, even if I am broken?

I am your merciful Father and the source of all comfort. I comfort you in all your troubles, so that you can comfort others with the same comfort I give you.

Maybe you too are broken, in a mess, in pieces. Or just ordinary, unfulfilled, without purpose. Let God shine through you. Come on, allow God to reflect His glory through your sorrow, despair, and fear! Maybe you are broken but beautiful. But you are His treasure.

Reflection

2 Cor 4:7-9, But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (NIV)

2 Cor 1:3-5, Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (NIV)

Would you allow God to shine through your brokenness for His glory?