I have a friend who creates unique and lovely jewelry. I was at her house recently to pick up a necklace she had designed for me when I noticed a large tub full of assorted beads sitting on her dining room table. It appeared that every single tiny piece was different from the others. The colors and shapes were noticeably beautiful, but truthfully the collection looked like chaos to me.
Noticing that I was staring at the massive assortment, Kathy walked over to it. She ran her fingers gently, lovingly through the tiny beads.
“A lady gave me this tub of beads a few days ago,” said Kathy, eyes gleaming and excitement simmering. “I’ve barely begun to go through it, but there are some real gems in there…no pun intended!”
Kathy must have noticed the fretful look on my face. Honestly, there must have been thousands of beads in that bucket, and the thought of having to do something with all of that just kind of made me…sick.
“Kay, that may look like a mess to you,” my friend volunteered, “but it just looks full of beautiful potential to me!”
There have been times in my life when it felt as though my heart had broken into as many tiny pieces as I saw in Kathy’s large tub of beads. Besides causing me to feel sad, my broken heart also left me feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, hopeless and tired. If your heart has been wounded by some kind of loss or rejection or unexpected turn you’re probably familiar with those emotions.
When our hearts are broken it’s hard to imagine how things will ever be ok again. We don’t even bother imagining “beautiful.” We’ll just settle for fine, thank you.
Some days we are consumed with sorting through the pieces. We gingerly gather the shattered dreams, fragments of past conversations, remnants of distant memories, scrapped plans we’d joyfully made for the future, mixed emotions and little chunks of disappointment. Sometimes we even notice we’ve incurred fresh wounds after sifting through the painfully fragile pieces. We think, “Maybe I shouldn’t think about these things,” but we don’t know how to stop. How else will we ever make sense of it all?
Alongside the pieces are the threads. The threads that once tied us to someone, something, some dream…loosened or severed. The threads don’t pierce; they just keep us unattached, at a distance, isolated.
The pieces, the fragments…they overwhelm us, don’t they?
But as I waited for Kathy to ring up my purchase that day, I looked again at that mounted pile of beads. She was right. It looked like an unmanageable mess to me…sort of like my life felt days, weeks and months after being heartbroken.
But I knew that Kathy could more than handle that mess. In fact, to my artistic and capable friend that tub didn’t contain chaos; it contained a beautiful promise. She had plans for those pieces, and she was excited about stringing them together into wearable works of art.
Joseph’s gracious proclamation to his brothers of God’s sovereignty declared that he had learned…sometime over the 20 years he’d spent in slavery and imprisonment at their hand…that God had always had beautiful plans for the fragments of his brokenness.
And looking back at the years since the famine had sent his brothers to kneel at his feet in an Egyptian palace, Joseph was able to see that indeed God had worked all things…the hurtful words, the rejection, the bondage, the false accusations, the years and years of waiting…into something beautiful.
God had reached His sovereign, loving hand into the broken pieces of Joseph’s life and pieced together a spectacular plan that saved Joseph’s life, his family’s lives, the Egyptians and many others who lived around the Nile. The pieces had fallen beautifully into place after all.
Friend, yours will, too, if you’ll trust them to the Master.
A Prayer Suggestion
Today instead of holding the sharp edges of your broken pieces in your own hands and raking through them in an effort to make sense of it all, why don’t you hand your fragments over to the One who has never been overwhelmed by them? Tell Him that you trust Him to make something beautiful of them. Ask Him to help you wait faithfully and expectantly while He works.
If your heart has been wounded and you are struggling to find healing, I’d like to suggest you try my Bible study, Joseph – Keeping a Soft Heart in a Hard Place. You’ll find more information here.