Many Japanese artists have a unique skill that, in many ways, represents God’s grace. The art I’m referring to is known as kintsugi, also known as “golden repair.” These artists take broken pieces of pottery that once existed as one whole object, and they piece them back together using lacquer dusted with gold, platinum, or silver. The result is not only restoring the original piece of pottery, but now since it’s woven with gold, it’s more valuable and more beautiful than before. In many ways, this is a good representation of God’s grace and how he takes our broken pieces and makes masterpieces.
We have to remember that God is in the business of creating life out of death, beauty out of ashes.
Joseph was sold into slavery and kept in jail for more than ten years before he was presented to Pharaoh. The concluding chapter of Genesis captures Joseph’s remarks, “As for you [his brothers], you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” God takes hopeless situations and transforms them into life-giving opportunities for redemption.
Israel, complaining against the Lord and Moses, was stricken by snakes that would kill them in judgment because of their disobedience. But God told Moses to make a bronze snake and lift it so that they would be saved from harm when they looked upon it. Think about this: God sent snakes to judge them, but he used a snake to save them. God uses evil for good. This characterizes his life-giving, graceful, and all-powerful nature to bring out life from death.
The idea that God brings good from evil culminates in the death of Jesus. While Jesus’ people (the Israelites) and the nations (Rome) both put him to death, it was in this very act that God brought about the redemption for all people who would look upon Jesus to be saved.
Just as Moses “lifted up” his staff so that if Israel would look upon it would be saved, so Jesus was lifted up, and all who look upon him (and believe) will be saved.
My own life characterizes God’s redemptive work in this way. I started drinking at the age of 15. By my early twenties, I had accumulated many harmful habits. It was foolish, I know. But despite my own failures and shortcomings, God pulled me from the pit that I had dug myself, and he put me back on solid ground. He washed me, renewed me, set me on a path toward life, and gave me hope, a future, and a promise that he will one day see me in his presence with acceptance through His Son, Jesus.
Amid brokenness, we can easily forget how God is intimately involved with each of our lives to bring about healing and restoration. Our circumstances can feel hopeless, but they’re not. We can feel stuck, but we’re not.
Negative self-talk can pervade our minds, and the enemy will convince us that we’re failures. He can convince us that we’re pathetic and useless – that we’ve blown it and there is no good in trying anymore.
But God is different. He is in the business of creating life and light, beauty and hope, grace and salvation. We can turn to the Lord in our darkest moments and know that his promises are true and that he will one day bring justice and peace and make all things new again, including our own lives. God takes our mourning and turns it into laughter. He takes our hopelessness and gives us a bright and vibrant future.
He takes the broken pieces of our lives, and with them, makes masterpieces.