Sometimes life falls apart. Yet, you did not need me to tell you this. We have all had those experiences which cause life to become broken; a death with its grief, sickness, unemployment, family division, depression, and disappointment which only begin the list of such things that can shatter a life. We can suddenly find ourselves standing over the pieces of our broken lives wondering how we can ever begin to put it back together.
When life leaves us standing in the rubble it is easy for despair to settle into our hearts. Hopelessness can find fertile soil to grow during these times and bitterness can harden our hearts. The question becomes then how can we keep from surrendering to hopelessness and giving into bitterness? How can we find peace in the broken pieces of our lives? The great spiritual writer Henri Nouwen said it this way,
Our life is full of brokenness – broken relationships, broken promises, broken expectations. How can we live with that brokenness without becoming bitter and resentful except by returning again and again to God’s faithful presence in our lives?
The key to finding peace in the pieces is to realize that God stands in the pieces with us. God does not scatter when we shatter, but rather God remains with us no matter what our situation looks like. God never tosses in the towel or considers it hopeless but God can take our broken pieces and bring forth something new. Trusting then in God allows us to have peace even in the pieces of brokenness. The prophet Isaiah would confess, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.” (Isaiah 26:3) When we keep our minds focused on God, even in the messiness of life, we can be grounded in the message of God’s peace.
As Jesus prepared to leave his disciples, he realized that they were troubled about what their future looked like. Thus, in John’s Gospel Jesus tells his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) The future seems uncertain most days for most people as we wonder what tomorrow holds. In faith, we hold on to God’s peace, or rather it holds on to us and reminds us that we are not alone. Indeed, life sometimes falls to pieces. God, however, never does. God’s peace is solid, unbreakable, and eternal. God’s peace can always be found in life’s broken pieces.