New year, new study. I just rejoined a small group I have attended the past few years after taking a semester off. The group is full of women who are deep wells of spiritual wisdom and maturity. It is a place that has been a source of life and connection for me and I missed it dreadfully in my time away. So after the morning routine of getting all of my humans out of the house, I sat down in my office to knock out the homework for the week.
Our study this semester takes a macro view of the bible and the story of God, His love and the story of redemption planned since the beginning of Genesis. As someone who grew up in church and was required to take 4 semesters of bible classes in college (FOUR!), I have a lot of bible stored up in this noggin. And as someone who met Jesus for the first time 15 years ago in a room full of addicts, I also have a heart full of awe and gratitude for the ridiculous, scandalous love of God. (I’m tearing up just typing that. It still wrecks me every. single. time.) But even with all that, I was excited at the chance to see or learn something new.
And wouldn’t you know that in the first 8 pages, the Lord showed me something I have NEVER seen before?!?!?! We have all seen a rainbow in the sky after some stormy weather has moved on through. And if you have heard the story of Noah, you would probably say that a rainbow is a sign from God that He would never destroy the earth again by flood after the ark and all that jazz. It was a reminder of His love and His promise. But here is what has escaped me all these years of staring up at the sky and counting out my ROY G BIV’s: what is a rainbow, really? It is broken light.
Broken. Pure white light broken into pieces creates something beautiful. Even from the very beginning, Jesus was the plan. From that day in the garden with the snake and the apple, it was always God’s plan to bring beauty from broken. The light of the world would be broken and poured out in order to complete the beautiful work of bringing us back home. Oh man, my whole body just breathed a huge sigh of relief. Broken was always a part of the program. Buttoned up was never the goal. Fixed and shined and polished to perfection wasn’t the end game. It was always brokenness.
The most beautiful things come from the most broken places. If I’m being super honest, I have mixed feelings about that. Sometimes my broken places feel very lonely. The enemy wants me to believe I am the only one who has ever been or ever will be in this condition. The TRUTH, however, is that I’m struggling with the same dang things Adam and Eve struggled with in the garden. You know what that means, right? All those places and spaces in your world and mine that feel so broken right now are just the raw material necessary for something precious to come. It means the story isn’t over. Even death isn’t the end. The cross has the final word. It was the plan all along.
But the rainbow didn’t appear Day 1. Or Day 12. Or Day 127. Noah and his peeps were on the ark for 40 days and 40 nights PLUS another 150 days until the flood waters subsided. You feel me? This was not an overnight proposition. There was a waiting that happened in long, dark, stinky fashion. The waiting wasn’t pleasant or easy or fun. But the waiting was necessary to accomplish what was to come.
“I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.” Genesis 9:13
That covenant wasn’t just about the restoration of Planet Earth. It was also about the restoration of the hearts of a broken people to a Holy God. And you know what? I like it. I like a man with a plan. I like that my broken is the norm and not the exception to the rule. I like it that the things that look oh so broken to me are the very thing that the Lord calls beautiful. It’s like every day is opposite day in the best possible way! #hiphiphooray
So if your today feels so incredibly broken and all you can see are the pieces of your life tossed about in floodwaters around you, just keep swimming. The day is coming when your feet will once again hit dry land. And when they do, be sure to look up and remind yourself that beautiful always comes from broken places.