Today I noticed a broken flower pot outside our front door. I'm not sure why I noticed it particularly today since I have been noticing it generally for weeks. The wind knocked it over sometime this summer. I remember walking outside and seeing it wounded on the sidewalk with the contents spilled out for the elements to destroy. With the rain still beating heavily into the earth and the wind blowing dramatically against the house, I decided that picking the mangled pieces up could wait. A few days later, I did move the pieces of the pot into an old red wagon that sits strategically in the flowerbed for such a time as this one. The pieces are still in the wagon.
Why do people keep broken things? Broken bicycles, broken watches, broken telephones. The junk drawer is filled with little broken items that we keep for no real reason whatsoever. Do you remember Fred Sanford? He made a living out of collecting broken things. His junk yard delighted many a person in search of something broken. Actually I don't remember anyone ever coming to buy anything from Fred's junkyard, but lack of customer support didn't squelch LaMonte's enthusiasm as he drove around in that pink truck looking for treasure. Go to any yard sale, and you'll find that in the middle of lots of items that you might possibly decide you want to buy, there will certainly also be something broken with a price tag on it.
The broken pot draws my attention to the truth that broken things aren't the only things we hold onto unnecessarily. We also hold onto broken hearts, broken relationships, and broken dreams. Poor choices, life circumstances and misspoken words all threaten to crush the deep parts of our lives that we hold onto with delicate care. Shelves are lined with books that give us answers crafted by people who do not know our situation or our need. The books create more frustration, or at best, they provide a temporary salve that in its pretense to be a glue can cause more crushing of the broken pieces.
For now, I am leaving the broken pot right where it sits. The pieces are a reminder that life doesn't always work out the way we planned and that God doesn't always put the pieces back together as quickly as we might like. The broken pieces reinforce that cracked pots need something to become useful. Cracked pots need Someone to become useful. What if God's purpose for the season is not for us to know what we will become but instead is for us to know the One who has that answer? What if the brokenness is really God's way to teach us to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10) or to cast all of our cares on Him since He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7)?
Paul wrote, "But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us" (2 Cor. 4:7). If you have a few broken moments, take time to read the next few verses. Paul reminds us that when we are broken and crushed, the Lord is glorified in us. His beauty through our brokenness. What if we never know the purpose of the brokenness? What if the pieces remain as continual reminders of our shattered dreams, damaged relationships, and broken hearts? By faith, we have to trust that in our weakness, He is strong (2 Cor. 12:9-10).
"For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory behond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things are unseen are eternal (2 Cor. 4:17-18, ESV).