“For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3 (NLT)
The sound of shattering clay filled the room, and my heart sank. An artist’s project, many hours in the making, had somehow toppled off the table and crumbled on the cement floor below.
And this wasn’t the first accident, either. This likeness of the artist’s own head, so carefully and skillfully crafted over a number of weeks, had suffered a previous minor fall from a drying rack.
Now I watched the artist’s eyes widen in horror at this new, much more devastating blow. Oh, how my heart went out to her!
While not a sculptor myself, I do know how it feels to have something you’ve poured yourself into suddenly crumble away without warning. It hurts — badly. To the point where it can leave you wondering who you even are anymore.
The Apostle Paul could surely relate to a sudden life detour. He was a sold-out, faithful follower of Jesus, preaching and teaching the Good News throughout various regions. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Instead, he suffered many bouts of persecution and imprisonment for his actions (2 Corinthians 11:23-28).
Despite all that, though, he understood there was a greater reality and a higher purpose than what is immediately visible in the here and now. That’s why he tucked this important nugget of truth in a letter he wrote to the church in Colossae:
“For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).
Paul’s words challenge God’s people to be transformed by the love of Christ and remember the truth of who they really are. Sometimes, though, figuring out what that looks like can be hard, especially in seasons of struggle and uncertainty. But that day, amongst the shards of broken clay, it became startlingly clear for me.
You see, it was at that moment I noticed that while most of the sculpture had crumbled to dust, the face itself was unchanged. It had somehow remained intact through all the mishaps and was still fully identifiable as that of the artist. And that’s when I realized the sculpture hadn’t just been broken; it had been beautifully broken and made even more compelling than the original piece.
That’s the thing about brokenness — it always leaves a mark behind. But when we choose to couple our own shattered remains with God’s goodness and grace, we, too, become beautifully broken, and that’s how the very best stories are told. Stories of hope those around us are desperate to hear … stories we ourselves may need reminding of at times.
This is what I’m now reminded of when I read those words from Colossians 3.
Because of Christ, I am not my circumstance. Because of Christ, I have a much higher calling on my life than anything that could ever happen to me here on earth. Because of Christ, no matter where I find myself or how shattered I may feel, my real life — the core of who I am — will never change. I will always and forever be identified as God’s chosen daughter.
Therefore, because of Christ, when I feel stripped of who I am, I can choose to remember whose I am, and I will embrace this gift of being beautifully broken.
Father, thank You that while brokenness is inevitable, it becomes something beautiful when we place it in Your hands. Help me to trust You today with every last piece of who I am, brokenness and all. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Psalm 121:1-2, “I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth!” (NLT).
1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (ESV).
While “broken” is not an adjective I’d want to describe my life, being beautifully broken is something different because that’s when God shows up and does what only He can do.
Are there areas in your life where you’re currently feeling broken? Spend some time today inviting God into those places. Reflect on what it means for your real life to be hidden with Christ, then ask for His help in transforming the ruins around you into something of beauty.
How have you experienced the gift of beautiful brokenness, whether in your own life or reflected in someone else’s? We’d love for you to share about it in the comments.
© 2023 by Stacy J. Lowe. All rights reserved.
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