Masterpiece or Mosaic

Devotional by Carole L. Haines

Photo by Aaron Cloward on Unsplash

When I was younger, I had big dreams of becoming more than I actually became. I pictured myself as a masterpiece in the hands of the Master, a beautiful sculpture intricately fashioned or a canvas painted with the natural beauty of a forest-enclosed waterfall. I certainly didn’t expect life to go the way it did. 

My life has been ordinary. But God delights in transforming us—ordinary vessels—into extraordinary vessels of His glory.  

God brought me to a verse that birthed in me a new perspective during one of my most bewildering and troubling trials. It’s tucked inside the Bible story of David and Absalom’s troubled father-son relationship. The story is found in 2 Samuel 14. Please take the time to read the whole story; it is quite intriguing. But for our purposes, I will just reveal a specific verse and what it means to me. 

“All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him.”

2 Samuel 14:14 NLT

When I first came upon this verse, I was in a place where I felt my life was ruined. Waves of misfortune and loss had crushed me by blows, sweeping over me one after another, after another. I nearly drowned in the sorrow and confusion. I was surprised to wake up alive each morning. I thought grief and loss would kill me. With everything I had gone through, I wasn’t sure I really wanted to live anymore.  

When I asked God to take me home, He said that only one death was necessary: His. He wanted me to live and to tell others how He had rescued me and given me new life.

But God truly does not just sweep life away. Neither does He give up on us—He never leaves us nor does He forsake us. He could have prevented some or all of the things that happened, but He didn’t. He let me go through them, and THAT was a hard truth to embrace.

You see, God does not always save us from our fears but saves us through them. In this way, we learn He is faithful in our griefs and losses. 

“Instead, He devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from Him.”

I love the use of “Instead” in this verse. It’s a hope word meaning that God was active during my trials, devising a way out on my behalf and not simply an indifferent bystander. He had gone before me and was waiting for me to give Him the broken pieces of my life. So, I placed into His hands all the shards and jewels of my life. He took that precious offering and is making a beautiful mosaic instead of my idea of a masterpiece. I am a display of His grace and kindness. He can do the same for you. 

Give Him all the broken pieces of your life. Yield to His love and grace. Then stand back in wonder as He makes the most beautiful mosaic out of all your shattered dreams.


About Carole L. Haines

Haines has been writing devotions, poetry, songs, etc. for the last ten years on her blog. One of her ministries is to make crosses out of broken glass, pottery, and other materials, to give to people in crises. The message behind them is that God can bring beauty out of brokenness. For more information, visit Haines here. See her previous LPM posts here and here.


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Poetry: Clamoring for the Bottom Rung, by Carole L. Haines

Image by Xin on Unsplash

 

Clamoring for the Bottom Rung

by Carole L. Haines

Even if no one else ever sees down deep in the darkest parts of me

I see and God sees

or if no one else ever knows the harshest thoughts,

the hurts, the wounds . . .

I know and God knows

Others may only expect the worst, or forget the best

But God expects the best for me

He believes the best, hopes the best,

and has sacrificed His most Precious Son

to purchase that Best, that freedom for me

He Promises that the work begun in me will be completed, perfected, finished

He promises that all things work together for my good and His Glory

That He is writing in me a wonderful story

of things lost that are found

things broken, made whole again

Things dirtied and soiled made white as snow

Blind men will open their eyes to see

the deaf hear words and songs and sounds

The lame leap up and dance around

Fools are made wise in the Kingdom of God

The last shall be first and the first come down

All the houses are built on solid ground

People will be clamoring for the Bottom Rung

Instead of climbing and clawing their way to the top

The Kingdom of God is upside down

Where the smallest seed is the most precious found

and we lose all we have to gain what is best

Sitting at Jesus’ feet, where we find true rest

Where once more, all that can be shaken will be

until only what God gives is left to see.

A Kingdom inside us that never grows old

A Kingdom that cannot be bought or sold

A Kingdom unshakable, strong and free

Where we are Bought back, cleansed and redeemed.

Until then, I wait here singing songs long sung

clamoring in humility for the Bottom Rung

 

About Carole L. Haines
Haines has been writing devotions, poetry, songs, etc. for the last ten years on her blog. One of her ministries is to make crosses out of broken glass and pottery and other materials to give to people in crises, such as grieving the loss of a loved one or deep disappointments. The message behind the giving of the crosses and my blog is that God can bring great beauty out of great brokenness. He doesn’t ever waste a tear or a heartache. Our God is a Redeemer, our Great and Mighty Savior, Our friend and our hope. Visit Haines here. See her last post on the Spotlight Blog, ‘The Steps That Lead To Nowhere,’ here.

 

 

The Steps That Lead To Nowhere

Photo by Tama66 (Pixabay)

 

The Steps That Lead To Nowhere

by Carole L. Haines

 

Our family just loves to visit abandoned places. There are a few really interesting ones near our home. Our son is especially into this, so we go on hikes with him to see these places. He studies up on the history of the places and tells us about them as we explore. It’s intriguing to visit where others have trod long ago. You can almost hear the echoes of voices calling from room to room; it’s like the walls are aching with stories to tell. The places seem to brighten when we walk in, as if glad someone has remembered them and has come to wander awhile. 

One of the most interesting places we visited was fenced off, which was good because the area is an old missile site. As we peered through the fence, we could see a set of steps that led Nowhere—steps leading to where a building had been before it was torn down. This reminded me of how important it is for us to take an inventory of what we invest our time in. Are there steps that lead to Nowhere in our own lives? Are there ruins of things that have long since collapsed that we continue to revisit, climbing steps to Nowhere, causing the pain to rush back in, the scars to throb, and the wounds to pulsate with reminders of what was or what could have been? There is nothing wrong with reflection, but looking back too often is like climbing steps that lead to Nowhere.

There’s a quote I read on the site Godinterest that says: “Leave behind the past because nothing is going to change there, and the more you keep looking back the more you’ll fail to see what’s in front of you.”

I love where the quote says, “Nothing is going to change there.” It’s so true. God is calling us forward. Hear His call:

See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.

(Isaiah 43:19, NIV)

 

“I am the Lord; that is my name!
    I will not yield my glory to another
    or my praise to idols.
See, the former things have taken place,
    and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
    I announce them to you.”

 (Isaiah 42:8-10, NIV)

We often paralyze ourselves with regrets and “if onlys.” By the power of Jesus, we can set ourselves free. Through His grace, love, and forgiveness, we can walk away from the past that continues to draw us up the steps that lead to Nowhere.

So, stop climbing those steps and move onward and upward. Move closer to the Lord who loves you, redeems you, and promises to work all things together for Good, to those who love Him and trust His purpose for their lives (Romans 8:28).

 

About Carole L. Haines

Haines has been writing devotions, poetry, songs, etc. for the last ten years on her blog. One of her ministries is to make crosses out of broken glass and pottery and other materials to give to people in crises, such as grieving the loss of a loved one or deep disappointments. The message behind the giving of the crosses and my blog is that God can bring great beauty out of great brokenness. He doesn’t ever waste a tear or a heartache. Our God is a Redeemer, our Great and Mighty Savior, Our friend and our hope. Visit Haines here.

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