The Upper Room devotional reflection for Tuesday, October 25, 2022, comes to us from Ann Stewart of South Australia, Australia.
1 But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. 3 For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. 4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. 5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. 6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth— 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
BEAUTY IN BROKENNESS
While walking along a beach where the bush meets the sand, I noticed a beautiful gum tree that had fallen. The tree continued to grow despite being battered by wind and weather. It remained beautiful with its papery soft white bark; and although some branches had died, new growth stretched toward the light. Like the tree, we are often battered and knocked down by the storms of life. However, like that tree we can remain beautiful and strong in our brokenness. Through the storms that come our way, God can bring new growth into our lives. And as we trust God, our difficulties strengthen us and teach us.
Even when we are broken, we can reach out to Jesus, the light of the world. As we endure our trials, we have the assurance that God has overcome the world (see Jn. 16:33) and that nothing can separate us from God’s love. Through our experiences, we become more understanding and compassionate toward others and their struggles. We also learn to draw closer to God and to rely on God in deeper ways than before. In Christ we receive comfort, strength, hope, and new spiritual growth.
The Japanese art of Kintsugi  mends broken pottery by fusing together the pieces with lacquer mixed with precious metals, especially gold, making the pottery more valuable. Jeremiah 18:2-5 states:
2 “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.”
3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel.
4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the
potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. 5 Then
the word of the LORD came to me. 6 He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel,
as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter,
so are you in my hand, Israel.”
Like Kintsugi, God is able to take our brokenness, mend them with grace, and allowing us to emerge more valuable than before. Ann’s reflection reminds us that our scars tell our story of transformation and restoration when we yield to the comforting hands of our loving God.
Loving God, as we reach out to you in our struggles, heal our hearts, bind our wounds, and work all things together for our good. Amen.
-- Ann Stewart
Someone I know who is feeling broken.
Thought for the day:
When I am surrounded by trouble, I will reach for the light of Christ.