He walked many of these paths several times a day. Getting water. Going to school. Foraging for food. His bare feet squished in the mud as he walked along this narrow path. The rains had drenched all the paths and roads, making them sloppy and hard to travel in and out of the impoverished village.
A small, burlap bag, tied with an old piece of cloth, hung from the belt loop of his ripped pants. Each day, as he walked, he picked up pieces of broken glass and put them in the bag. Shards of rich shades of amber, emerald, sapphire, and crimson.
The boy saw himself as those discarded fragments, having no purpose. He thought, Someday, I’ll make something beautiful out of these scraps.
One day, a missionary came to help build a small church for the boy’s village. When he arrived at a nearby airport, the missionary felt led to buy a book, one that was not of any interest to him. Puzzled, he bought it.
While there, he preached on the worth God sees in each life. The boy listened as the missionary also taught how God takes all the broken pieces of each life and turns them into something beautiful. Something with purpose, for God’s glory.
During his stay, the missionary talked to the boy and saw something special hidden in him. He felt led to give the book to the boy, who was grateful but perplexed as to what he would do with it.
After the missionary left, the boy began reading the book, which gave him an idea. He wrote a letter to the missionary asking a favor. When the missionary received the letter, he rushed the requested items to the boy.
A few days before the missionary’s package arrived, a storm swept through the village, knocking a tree down and breaking a window in the modest, little church. Unfortunately, no funds existed to fix the window and, since it was the rainy season, the members feared more rain would pour in and ruin the church if the window was not fixed.
The boy told the pastor his idea and they both rejoiced.
When the package arrived, the boy gathered all his broken pieces of colored glass, moved them around to form a pattern, and soon fashioned a lovely design. He learned from the book how to make a stained glass window with a cross. He read how to adhere the pieces together and worked day and night to finish it while there was a lull in the rain.
As he worked, he kept repeating one verse the missionary had quoted, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28 NKJV)
As the boy worked to fit all the pieces together, the Lord whispered to him, “As the artist works, he unites the pieces of glass together, redeeming them into a beautiful work of art. So it is with your life. I work to bond your broken fragments together, uniting them for good, redeeming them into something beautiful.”
When he had finished his work, the boy took the window to the pastor, who was deeply grateful and praised the boy’s work. Members of the church helped put in the window before the rain returned.
The next Sunday, the boy went to church, excited to see his beautiful shards of redemption in place. He slowly walked in, and, overwhelmed at the sight, fell to his knees, lifting his hands to praise the Lord. A momentary ray of sun filtered through the majestic hues of the stained glass, casting a shadow of the cross across the young boy’s face…and his heart.
Tears streamed down his cheeks, for he now knew God had blessed him and had fit all his broken pieces together, redeeming him. He carried these words in his heart thereafter…
Do you know you have worth and beauty? Do you know God will redeem all the shards of your life, making you into something beautiful? I pray you do!