He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3).
No matter how broken we feel, Christians can trust Christ to make all things new, to heal us spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. I know that the Redeemer is reclaiming my life.
I recently returned from a much-needed retreat in the Northeast. A dear friend asked me to come with her to a place which has brought the quiet she needed to better hear God’s voice and direction. As I had been preparing for a pro-life talk for a large group of people, I thought this would be a good opportunity for me to get away, gather my thoughts, and to pray about just what God wanted me to say.
The retreat center was tucked away within farmland, hills, and woods. Beautiful, quiet, soothing, morning and evening prayer and daily Mass were just some of the beautiful gifts which God had in store for us. It was on a little stroll just at the edge of the woods however that grabbed my attention. Here, just off the path was a cross adorned with broken pieces of Raku pottery shards. The cross was shrewdly made with what looked like two aged pieces of barn wood about 4 feet in height; the pottery either attached or thrown about the foot of the cross as it rested against an old tree.
I was startled by this seemingly odd view in front of me. My mind immediately flew back decades, back to the late 1970s. I was in my pottery class in high school; an aspiring artist. We were learning about Raku pottery, a form of firing the clay in which the end product, carbon is fused into the piece. I had created a dome-shaped piece, with the image of Galadriel (J.R.R Tolkien, Lord of the Rings) central to it, resulting in what I thought was a beautiful image to be hung on the wall. I loved working with clay, the technique of Raku, and this piece of art in particular. Of all of my artwork, this was the item I carried with me and displayed wherever I lived…until about 10 years later.
After high school, my life changed quite drastically (see previous articles) as I let go of the morals and values with which I had been brought up. I was a lonely, fearful child, teen, and now in my twenties, the fear was ten-fold as the choices I had made sent me spiralling in depression and hopelessness. Broken relationship after a broken relationship left me with a sense of worthlessness. And here I was, standing in front of a rugged cross with all of those shards, but in my mind, I was standing in front of a dumpster.
Yet another broken relationship, moving all of my belongings, all my valuables, and I saw myself holding that piece of Raku pottery adorned with the beautiful Galadriel. It seemed as if I was the only person who could see its value…it’s beauty. No one else seemed to appreciate what I had created, a piece of art which came from my heart as an extension of myself. I can still see it, tossed, lying broken now in the dumpster, seeing myself there, wondering if anyone did or ever would care for me.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).
God Brought Healing
In my hind-sight I can see the many ways God has brought healing to me, healing to the core. I see how each year, each day, within each relationship he has been restoring me, reclaiming me as the potter reclaims the clay; nothing is ever wasted. It was no accident that I just happened onto this little scene just in the woods. The Raku pottery shards, reminiscent of my own pottery which I had thrown into the dumpster, all around the foot of the cross and adorning its outstretched arms was a vivid reminder to me that I had not been abandoned; not discarded by God, and that I had infinite value to Him. A beautiful reminder that the Eternal Potter had saved me and made me new; is continuing to make me into something far more beautiful than I could ever have imagined.
God is Reclaiming Me
No, it was no coincidence. It was a God incident. As I said, I went on the retreat to clear my thoughts, to hear what it was God wanted me to say, as I make my story of redemption (being reclaimed) known. As He knows me intimately, He knew I would see in the image of the cross and shards, just how far He has brought me, and just how far He wants to bring each and every one of us.
Give Him your shards, your broken memories. Give Him everything about yourself, your past and present; all which you think worthless. He wants it all. You are His treasure. The Master Potter will make all things new. He will make all of us new.