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Joni Eareckson Tada

The Japanese art form that teaches us about God's grace

A stunning work of art

The Japanese art of Kintsugi can teach us a lot about how God works his grace in our lives, says Joni Eareckson Tada

My husband, Ken Takeshi Tada is sansei; that is, third generation Japanese born in America. Even though Ken is as American as they come, his heart is rooted in the Japanese culture. He recently told me about the art of Kintsugi, a Japanese method of repairing broken pottery.

A Japanese artist will mix a special lacquer of either gold or silver to adhere together the pieces of a shattered ceramic jar. It is artfully executed, for the viewer can see all the broken places – the cracks are filled with the shiny gold bonding agent, creating a stunning work of art. The humble jar is much lovelier than it was before its injury.

The philosophy behind the technique is to recognise the fact that the object was broken, and to visibly incorporate the repair into an entirely new piece instead of disguising the brokenness. That’s the part I love. The potter doesn’t want to conceal the injury; he wants to showcase it in stunning gold.

God does Kintsugi on his people all the time. When your life is shattered by a deep disappointment, God will ‘put you back together’ in a way that is far more beautiful than before the trial.

Rather than conceal the damage done, God accentuates the gold of his healing grace through the broken pieces of your life – it’s a way of highlighting his glorious handiwork in you, so that people can’t help but admire the elegance of his plan and purpose in your life.

Kintsugi is what Romans 8:28 is all about: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Are you feeling broken today? Has your life been shattered by a deep disappointment or life-altering change?

Then I encourage you to Google ‘Kintsugi’ and get a glimpse of what the Lord has in mind for the shattered pieces of your life. No doubt about it: God will work it all out for good; and it’ll be gloriously golden!

+ Joni Eareckson Tada is an advocate for disabled people and has recently released a devotional book, A Spectacle of Glory and the Beyond Suffering Bible to answer difficult questions about disability and suffering. She partners with the UK organisation Through the Roof Tel: 01372 749955

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