We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Cor 4:8-9
Hmm… This makes three consecutive weeks that the title of my Thankful Thursday post might seem a little unconventional…out of the box…maybe not what you would expect from a thankful heart and a pondering mind.
My son accidentally broke one of my small decorative plates this week. It wasn’t an expensive relic and it didn’t hold any special sentimental value, but I cringed when I heard it hit the floor. A small thing really, but I had bought it as a little token of encouragement and remembrance. As I held the broken pieces, contemplating whether to glue it back together or to discard it, it mysteriously seemed both strong and fragile at the same time. There was one clean, well-defined break when it could have shattered into a hundred pieces. For a brief moment that humble little plate reflected the lives, circumstances, and expressions etched on a dozen different faces.
I recently sat in a circle with a dozen godly women who introduced themselves and then proceeded to lay their hearts and their hurts open and vulnerable within the confines and security of the huddled group. Each described various losses she had recently sustained. Through tears, sighs, clinched fists, shallow breaths, and faithful prayers came testimonies of devastating losses: loss of home, loss of spouse, loss of security, dream, or direction, loss of job…and then what I initially thought was the ultimate loss: the loss of a child. They were each walking through various stages of loss, grief, healing, and restoration. Today as my hands held the broken pieces of plate and my mind rehearsed the broken pieces and echoes of so many lives, I realized none of my precious friends had really suffered the ultimate loss: the loss of hope. Even through pain, lack of understanding, or brokenness, each faithful friend expressed faith in a God who sees and hope of complete healing, restoration, and purpose.
A bruised reed He will not break,
and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out.
In faithfulness He will bring forth justice.. Is 42:3
My broken plate has found its new home on my foyer table: a reminder that we all have broken pieces and broken places, but also strength, beauty, and purpose. So today I am thankful that my life has intersected with others and, in our losses and brokenness, we have found common ground, connection, faith, and hope.