“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Psalm 34:18, NIV
The art of kintsugi, which means “golden joinery,” is a Japanese repair process that turns ugly breaks into beautiful fixes. The method goes beyond making a broken piece of china as good as new; it makes it better than new.
Allegedly, the art began when fifteenth-century Japanese shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa broke his favorite tea bowl. Distraught, he sent it to China for repair. When the bowl came back, he was horrified by the ugly metal staples used to join the broken pieces, so he instructed his craftsmen to come up with a more appropriate solution. By adding gold dust to an adhesive resin and filling the cracks with the blend, they not only transformed the broken bowl into a useful vessel but into a beautiful work of art.
Kintsugi proposes that repair can be beautiful. “Not only is there no attempt to hide the damage, but the repair is literally illuminated,” says Christy Bartlett in Flickwerk: The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics.
Life has a way of dealing some mighty hard blows—events that not only shatter our hopes and dreams but chip away at our sense of self-worth and purpose. By looking back over some of the most difficult times of my life, I’ve seen that God has counterbalanced my hardships by supplying family and friends to take the role of “Jesus with skin on.” As they lovingly walked alongside me in my brokenness, counseled me, prayed with me, and encouraged me, they hastened my restoration. God used them like gold in my life to fill the cracks of my brokenness and illuminate my darkness.
Don’t hesitate to let others see the cracks in your facade. We’re all earthen vessels in need of repair. When we don’t attempt to hide the damage, broken things can become blessed things—beautiful works of art in the hands of a loving God. If you’re in the midst of a crisis, remember Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted and often uses others to assist him.
Begin the process of your restoration by handing the broken pieces of your life over to God. Then pray and seek someone trustworthy to confide in. Allow them to walk beside you, giving God the opportunity to use them like gold to fill the cracks of your brokenness.
When God does the mending, his repair illuminates our lives, and in time, he’ll use us like gold to fill the cracks of others.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:38, KJV).