It was one of those days when it seemed that everything I did resulted in something bad. Linda had just bought a beautiful tea pot from an antique store and brought it home. It was all wrapped up to keep it safe and she unwrapped it and handed it to me to put upon a cabinet. As I stretched to get it in the right spot, suddenly the lid or top part of it came tumbling off and crashed to the floor. It was shattered. There was no possibility of gluing it back together. And putting it up without the top part, didn’t have that look that she was searching for. What do you do when a thing is broken, shattered and it looks impossible to put it back together again? With the teapot there was only one solution. Throw it in the trash and try to forget the whole thing. Obviously that hasn’t worked very well since it was almost twenty years ago that it happened. It’s still the case when I am about to put anything breakable up high I will either remember that occasion or Linda will remind me not to drop this one like I did with the tea pot.
God called Jeremiah to go out to visit a potter at his shop one day to teach him a lesson about what to do with the broken people in life. The story is found in Jeremiah 18:1-10. Jeremiah went down to the Potter’s house and saw him working at the wheel, forming a vase. “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. Then the word of the Lord came to me. 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. If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down, and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.”
When I drop a dish or a bowl or anything of the sort, I usually watch as it crashes to the floor and shatters into little pieces. From my point of view, there is no possibility of repair or reshaping it into something else or doing anything with it other than put it into the trash and replacing it with something else that is similar. God has a totally different viewpoint. He looked at the marred pot that represented Israel and reminded Jeremiah and us that He could take a broken nation and mold it into something new and wonderful.
Brokenness is all around us. It all begins with broken people and leads to broken homes, broken churches, broken relationships, broken families, broken churches, and broken countries. It actually started a long time ago when God placed the man he had created in his own image and likeness into an amazingly beautiful garden. It was a place called Eden and it had everything right. Animals were gentle and easy to pet. In reality, even God couldn’t see anything wrong in the garden and declared it very good. But there was one thing missing. It wasn’t good for the man to be alone. God made him a helper that was suitable and fitting for him and brought her to him. Adam was astounded. “This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. She will be called woman, and for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two will become one flesh.” It was an ideal situation. A handsome man in love with a beautiful woman living in an amazing paradise. What could go wrong here?
God had planted in the middle of the garden two trees. One was the tree of life that one could eat of it and live forever. The other was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The only thing God asked of the couple was to dress and keep the garden and not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It would seem that it would be easy to carry out such a command doesn’t it? But Eve wouldn’t agree. As she stood beneath the tree the devil came in the form of a serpent and began his sales pitch on why she should eat from the tree. He questioned God’s motives for not wanting them to know the things He knew about good and evil. He said that she wouldn’t really die like God said if she took of it. She stood and looked and thought. “It is a beautiful tree and the fruit on it sure looks good. What could be wrong with me taking a bite so I can be like God and know good from evil?” So, she took of the fruit of the tree God had said not to eat and she gave it to Adam and he ate from it as well. Now the most beautiful place with the most amazing relationship with God and nature and the wonder of this happy home, was all shattered. It fell to the floor and broke into a thousand pieces.
Brokenness had entered the world and in reality it is here to stay until the Lord comes again. It was sin that brought on the brokenness in the world and it is sin that keeps it going in all kinds of forms continually. Its effects have come in the form of broken health so that we feel shattered when the news hits that we have some kind of illness that is terminal. They are demonstrated when a family is broken by the death of a child or a parent. it shows when a church struggles to get along with each other and division comes into the family of God.
From our standpoint, when something breaks, it might as well be gathered up and thrown into the trash to be carried away and all we can do is look for another one. But God looks at brokenness and offers healing. He can put the broken pot back together again in such a way that it is more valuable and more beautiful than they ever were before. He is truly the potter that takes the marred clay pot and remolds it into a new pot that is better, more beautiful and more valuable than ever before. In remolding, it always begins with the reforming of individuals who can reform relationships and change the course of life.
Truly we live in a broken world. We live in a broken nation. We likely worship with a broken church. In all of our families there is some brokenness to deal with. Every friendship goes through times of being broken. The great question is, when will we stop trying to super glue things back together and yield to the ultimate potter to reform our lives and world?