Yesterday we looked a little bit at the paradox of Kintsugi- that while brokenness is not something we should seek or create, God can create a beauty from brokenness that cannot be found in the whole or the pristine.
Today we are going to look briefly at two stories to explore that further.
The first comes in John 9:
“As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “Why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”
“It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.” (John 9:1-3 NLT)
The second comes shortly after it in John 11:
“The two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.” But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days.” (John 11:3-6 NLT)
Both of these passages are setting the scene for the miracles that are to follow- the healing of the blind man and the raising of Lazarus from the dead- but they raise some interesting questions:
- Did God cause the man to be born blind in order to show his power?
- Did Jesus deliberately wait until Lazarus’s situation had worsened in order to reveal God’s glory by healing him not just from sickness, but from death?
In other words, does God deliberately cause or allow brokenness in order that he might create Kintsugi?
I don’t have a great answer to that question. I think the best I can come up with is: I don’t know; maybe sometimes, but definitely not always. As I said yesterday, surely there is enough brokenness to work with in the world without deliberately creating it.
And when we’re suffering and broken, “why” is not usually the most helpful question to ask. Sometimes the cause of our brokenness is obviously caused by our own bad choices or other people’s sin, but we can still be left questioning why God allowed it. Other times there is no rhyme or reason to it at all and, while it’s natural to want to understand, searching for the reason can consume valuable energy we could better use moving forward.
So, rather than a direct answer to the question (which I don’t have), here are some truths that I find it helpful to remember:
God is ultimately sovereign: “The Lord has made the heavens his throne; from there he rules over everything.” (Psalm 103:19 NLT) He is not standing by, watching us suffer, powerless to stop it.
Suffering is part of living in a broken world and we all experience it in one way or another. God never promises a pain-free life, but he promises to be with us and assures us that his power is greater: “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NLT)
God cares about our suffering: Jesus wept at Lazarus’s grave, and David says of God: “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” (Psalm 56:8 NLT) He does not stand aloof and disinterested in our suffering; he cares deeply.
Jesus experienced the brokenness of the world for himself, so he understands: “He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.” (Isaiah 53:3 NLT)
He paid the ultimate price that our brokenness might be made whole: “He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.” (Isaiah 53:5 NLT)
God’s ultimate plan for us does not include brokenness: “I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!”” (Revelation 21:3-5 NLT)
I don’t think we will ever fully understand the “why” of brokenness, but we can hold to the truth of a God who sees and cares, and who has power to restore.