The Kintsugi Master

It was April 2015. I remember the clouds had been gathering for days, just waiting for the chance to break. The Autumn rains are like this, and when it rains, it pours.

It was no surprise when the water rose and floods cut us off from the main road. It didn’t surprise me when the power went out.

Who hasn’t had the power go out? Who has been left in the dark?

I remember the feeling of darkness. Not sitting in the dark, but being utterly engulfed by it. Surrounded. Drowning in darkness. The darkness of the soul. Depression.

I walk into rooms and flick the lightswitches. Nothing happens. I don’t really know why I do it, habit I guess. But I get by without power. The torches come out, candles, even my phone.

But in the darkest moments of depression, there are torches, no candles, no phones. Only brokenness.

Kintsugi is an old Japanese art. An artist will take broken pieces of pottery, gluing them back together using a mixture of resin and gold, to create something stronger and more beautiful than before.

Paul wrote in the Bible that God works everything into something good for people who follow him. It sounds like a platitude. But I don’t think this is what Paul is doing.

What if Paul was saying God is the master kintsugi artist? Someone who can take broken lives and makes them beautiful.

May you come to recognise the scars, chips and cracks of your life are opportunities to see God create something beautiful.

Reflection Questions

1. What are some of the storms that you have experienced?

2. What are some of the things you look to for hope during the storms you go through?

3. How does the image of kintsugi help you trust God with your personal brokenness?

4. Are there areas of your life you need to trust God more with?

2 thoughts on “The Kintsugi Master”

  1. I thought you and your readers might appreciate a concrete example of how God has used something as painful as suicidal depression for good in my life (and the lives of those around me):

    When I was in college and the suicidal depression hit, my emotions went to every extreme in the book. Anger, suspicion, jealousy, self-pity. I knew I needed to be able to express myself honestly to my friends, but I didn’t know how to do that without wounding and alienating everyone around me. And without making a total fool of myself by overreacting to everything. The only alternative—keeping it all inside—nearly destroyed me.

    One of my big breakthroughs came when I openly communicated my feelings not to others, but to God. I learned to take it all to Him, pouring out my heart (Psalm 62:8), often through journaling. When medication relieved the depression, I began to take what I’d learned from expressing myself to God and apply it to the greater challenge of expressing myself to others. I found that I could be more honest with them in ways that didn’t trample on their souls.

    I thank God that He used a painful and difficult period in my life to grow me in this area of speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). I now have deeper, richer relationships with others because of this growth. That’s a big change for a nerd like me! (Adapted from my blog at https://thosewhoweep.blogspot.com/2019/08/speaking-truth-in-love.html.)

    • Thanks so much for sharing Ann. I love your practical way you’ve brought this message out. Journaling is such a practical we get our feelings out, but also turn them over to God and, as you’ve said, to others. You’ve offered some really helpful words. Thanks.

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