Saturday, April 7, 2012

Beauty out of Brokenness

Yesterday my friend Brian and I went for a hike near a river and waterfall.  The path we followed was narrow and muddy, with the wet leaves of plants slapping at our legs.  At times we had to climb up (and down) rocks, and wade through water.  It was awesome! 

All around us was lush and damp and green.  And, oh, the trees!  Flowering trees, in pink and orange, trees with vines crawling up their trunks, trees tall and straight, others bending over the water… 
One tree had maple leaf-like leaves, but instead of hand-sized, they were huge, around a foot in diameter.  They must have been tasty, because most had plenty of holes where insects had snacked.  This turned the solid surface into delicate lace, beautiful, especially when the sun shone through. 

It made me think about the holes in our lives.  The stuff that has caused us injury, has damaged us, kept us from being whole.  Being gnawed surely doesn’t feel good!  Things chew at us from the outside, our own sinfulness from within. 
As I looked up at those leaves, I noticed something else.  Despite all of their holes, they were still green.   Although they were no longer whole, they still lived.  Why?  Because they continued to be attached to the tree, their source of nourishment. 

At times, it’s tempting to let go, allow the despair of the hurt to sever our link to our True Vine.  But only by remaining firmly attached can the brokenness be transformed.  Without Jesus living in us, we’ll become shriveled up, brown, dead and decaying.
In Christ, in Christ alone, our broken places are transformed into great beauty.  When the Son shines His light and love into our lives, those very places of shame and pain become exquisite and lovely.

Beauty out of brokenness.  I saw this in my Mom’s life.  I have seen it in other brothers and sisters in Christ, back home, here, in El Callejon, in my own life.  Wounds lovingly redeemed, becoming the very places where we can best shine out His glory.    
This weekend we remember and celebrate the gore and the glory of the Cross.  We celebrate our Savior, whose wounds transform our brokenness into beauty.  Attached to Him, our True Vine, we live.  In His light and love and power, the chewed up mess of our sin-filled lives can become as lovely as delicate lace.  Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
  (Isaiah 53:4-5)

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