Last week, a plate of mine fell and broke into pieces. My sixteen-year-old son heard my whimper and came to check on me. I pointed to the plate lying at my feet and explained the history behind the keepsake. I continued being sentimental about the broken plate when he asked, “Have you ever heard of Kintsugi?” Confused, I looked up from the ceramic pieces and said, “What?”
He went on to explain that the Japanese art form of Kintsugi makes beautiful masterpieces out of broken pottery. By mending the fissures with gold, Kintsugi embraces flaws and imperfections making the ceramic even stronger than its original design. The art form dates to the 15th century when Japanese shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa broke his favorite tea bowl. He sent it to China to be repaired and was horrified to discover it had been repaired with unsightly metal staples. His craftsmen then went to work to find a more visually appealing means of repair.
As I think about the art of Kintsugi, it reminds me a lot of what the Lord has done with my broken heart many times. Every time I experience a broken heart, a shattered dream, develop cracks in my spirit or have fragile places that have compromised my strength, God goes to work like the Japanese craftsman. He doesn’t see my broken places as weakness, but rather an opportunity for strength and beauty.
He so tenderly and carefully mends my broken places with the most valuable of materials. His own special blend of grace, compassion and love fill the spaces that used to be disjointed. And what was once shattered becomes stronger and more beautiful than ever. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18. He mends the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds. Psalm 147:3.
Each time we experience brokenness God desires to move in and make it a thing of beauty. He is good at taking something that looks broken and making it even more useful than before. I think that is one of the things I like best about the history of Kintsugi. The military dictator just wanted his favorite tea bowl to drink from again. It served a purpose and he wanted it back whole again.
Isn’t that how we feel when we are torn into? We just want to feel whole again so that we can be useful. Well, God feels the same way. He wants to make you whole and he certainly wants you to be useful for his Kingdom. If you have a broken heart, broken dreams, or a broken spirit, ask God to repair you. Not only will he restore you, but he will also use the very thing that broke you to make you even more useful.
Claim this scripture over your life. “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10. “We are his masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10. Just as the broken bowl surrenders to the master artist, allow God to give you a new lease of life as he uses your imperfections to make you stronger.