Kintsugi in Japanese means to repair with gold. Taking the broken pieces of a pot or bowl, gold dust is applied to the fragments which are then fired in an oven, welding them back together, stronger than before.
I was so touched as I read about the philosophy behind this technique which embraces brokenness as a valued part of the history of the object, not as something that needs to be covered over. The breakage is seen as just an event in the object's life, not its end. The cracks become purposeful showpieces, beautiful features that we are drawn to as the gold glitters through. This is not an expensive salvage operation, it is a way of holding brokenness up to the light and saying, look at the beauty that came from this!
As I reflected on this stunning form of restoration, I thought of Jesus - beaten, pierced, disfigured for us, suffering death and complete and utter brokenness on the cross. And what struck me most was that even after He was raised back to life, He still bore the scars in his hands and sides. He showed them off to His disciples to convince them of what had been accomplished. Even though He could have easily been raised in perfect bodily form, completely new and scar-free, we see Jesus marked forever by what He went through. He doesn't cover up the pain-filled marks and memories on His body. Instead, He willingly shows them off to His closest friends BECAUSE He wants those scars to tell the most powerful and beautiful testimony of love sacrificing and winning.
The great preacher, Charles Spurgeon puts it this way...Christ wears these scars in his body in heaven as his ornaments. The wounds of Christ are his glories, they are his jewels and his precious things...they are his trophies—the trophies of his love.
And in the same way that Jesus triumphed over His suffering, He invites us to share this same testimony in every area of brokenness in our own lives. To recognise that we can't make ourselves whole or heal ourselves, only the love of Jesus can. To recognise that our aim in life isn't to be perfect, but to always love and to be open to receive the love of God. To offer up the broken moments of our lives to the Lord for Him to work with and make whole.
2 Corinthians 12:9-11 puts it this way...
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my poweris made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Much like the art of kintsugi, I truly believe that the cracks and imperfections in our lives are merely the elements that the Lord works with to create a restored and more beautiful vessel. That weakness, when acknowledged and yielded to God, becomes a place of power and authority in our lives as we learn how to depend on the Lord even more. I believe that the scars in our journey are at one and the same time a humbling reminder and a powerful testimony. To try and erase them would be to devalue the journey that brings us to victory.
So, I encourage you, in those areas of your life where you think, "how am I ever going to get past this pain?" think of Jesus' scars. Those scarred hands are what allows our wounds to heal. Those scarred hands give us the ability to receive grace in our darkest places. They put us back together and bring us into wholeness, perfect in our weakness, scarred but beautiful.