Broken For Beauty

The purchase of our house included a concrete patio.  The previous owner had placed several pieces on the concrete that drew your eye from one object to another.  We had none of that.  We were left with raw concrete covered in paint stains and mildew spots.  After a few months we made our own investment in patio pieces, but never bought as many as the previous owner.

This spring we decided to cover the patio in stone.  Not being familiar with this process I assumed it would take a day or two – a simple job.  Little did I know.

The process began with large pieces of stone positioned around the edges of the concrete.  Additional stones were placed in the middle to cover the remaining space.  The stones had no straight lines, just jagged edges.  Thus one piece could not fit directly against another. Pieces were then broken to fit in the gaps between the larger stones.  Still the process was incomplete.  Finally mortar was pressed between each stone giving it its finished look of beauty.

During the second week of work I thought each day would be the last, but there was always more to be done.  Each step needed to be complete before the next process could begin.  Accelerating the work would be detrimental to the final product.

I am now sitting in a chair on this patio.  With advances in technology you can type most anywhere these days.  It seems I am also sitting on an illustration of my life with Christ.  How it really is, rather than how I expected it to be.

I expected my life with Christ to be one beautiful piece placed next to another.  God would want the best for me and that would include only wonderful things.  I did not realize creating divine beauty would require jagged edges and broken pieces.  It is in the pain and suffering when I come to seek Him most.

God does not demand anything, but only offers His extended hand.  It is up to me to reach out and take it.  I often reach for His hand when I am broken and my need is great.  If I demand a broken-less world, it is not what He gave His son.  Christ lived among the world’s brokenness, offering to change everything, but demanding nothing.  He experienced rejection and pain.  Why should I think my life would be any different?

The pain and suffering I experience, that I want so much to get of, are actually a blessing – a hard blessing, but a necessary one if I truly want to become like the Master.

As I sit on this patio, I have come to know my brokenness is for the better.  Each piece is carefully placed to create beauty in my life – a life He created just for me.

The broken pieces, both large and small, shape me into the image of Christ.  He takes my jagged edges and with His mortar puts together the beauty of His creation.  Without the struggle and pain His creation would be less beautiful rather than more.  His work takes time – often agonizing time.  Time can be one of the pieces used to create His image in me.

My worldly view of beauty includes a damage-free experience.  God’s view of beauty is full of wrinkles, blemishes and pain.  He recognizes, to discover the beauty of His creation with me, I must be broken.  As He fits together my brokenness He creates a beauty from within rather than without.

If you could see my patio you would say it is beautiful because of the broken pieces.  They are an integral part of the finished work.