Devotional: Beauty in Brokenness
During a time of deep despair and suffering, King David wondered about God's ability to be present in his dark places--to bring about beautiful redemption in the midst of brokenness. He cried out to God, "Will your lovingkindness be declared in the grave, your faithfulness in Abaddon? Will your wonders be made known in the darkness? And your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?" (Psalm 88:11-12). David wondered about God's work in his life--had he been abandoned? Was God still guiding him even in the deepest, darkest places of brokenness and fear? And even in those places seemingly forgotten, would God continue to make things right? David struggled to see how beauty could emerge out of brokenness. And yet, he later affirmed in Psalm 139, "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there... if I say, 'surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you." It is in those dark places of brokenness and suffering that God brings forth luminous light so that even the dark is illuminated.
The prophet Isaiah repeats this theme by promising one who would redeem the exiles, giving them "a garland of beauty instead of ashes" and "the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord... who summons you by name" (Isaiah 61:3, 45:3). Perhaps, these were Scriptures recalled by the apostle Paul when he declared that "we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body" (2 Corinthians 4:7-9). Indeed, Paul declares that "the God who said, 'Light shall shine out of darkness,' is the one who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" (4:6). And so often, that face of Christ is demonstrated with beautiful radiance through the broken and dark places in our lives.
Today, if you are experiencing hardship, difficulty or personal darkness, seek the light and beauty of Christ, for he longs to be present to you, to give you a garland of beauty instead of ashes, to call you by name, and to bring forth treasures of darkness. He is there in the brokenness with you. ...Margaret Manning Full essay image