The Redemption of Brokenness

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Stroll through the lofty, ancient cathedrals of Europe, and lift your gaze to frozen kaleidoscopes of stained glass. Crystal panes of ruby, sapphire, and topaz turn sunlight into sparkling ribbons that dance across lifeless gray stone walls and statues. Stories from Scripture unfold from window to window. Favorite characters shimmer with bright circles of haloed light. God’s faithfulness from generation to generation comes alive.

In some churches, though, the colorful windows of the past are gone. No meaningful shapes, just panes of clear glass and leaded frames. The old stories, the careful artistry, the rainbow hues were all lost in the brutal bombardment of World War II.

Imagine the days after the shelling, those beautiful windows slammed onto the cathedral floor. Shattered splendor. Jagged shards that stab at our hearts. Everything jumbled, broken. Fragments of people, missing pieces. Useless. Ready to be thrown out.

Or are they?

My husband’s cousin Penny takes broken pieces of old stained-glass windows from American country churches, melts slivers into delicate glass beads, and strings them into jewelry. Old windows are on a bracelet she gave me, in swirled purple beads separated by silver spheres. Repurposed. Beautiful. With a history of faith. A joy to share with others.

Placed in the hands of a skillful artisan, what was broken becomes whole. Different, perhaps, but still lovely. Useful in a different way.

Our dreams—the rosy glass panes through which we view the light of the future—are sometimes blasted apart in the battles of life. We look down, see our reflections in the splinters. We try to pick up the pieces, but they pierce our flesh with the sting of defeat. In despair, we see our hopes swept into the dustbin, and we walk away.

Behind us, unseen, the master Craftsman collects the bits of color. He turns them over in His hands, gently. He grieves that His extraordinary handiwork has been marred by wrong.

Yet He does what we cannot. He takes the cracked pieces and reshapes them, remolds them, replaces them in settings heat-sealed by the irresistible warmth of His grace. His light pours through them in new directions.

Open your eyes and see your life in the hands of your masterful Creator. See how He is making all things new. Watch how He will write His story in your picture window.

 

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