The Unexpected Beauty of Brokenness

A broken tree in a forest

Rediscovering the beauty of our lives in the midst of pain and struggle.



Life is filled with so many different beautiful experiences. Sunrises and sunsets bathe the sky in colors we could not imagine being real. Waterfalls at the end of a long hike bring a sound to the ear that can soothe a tired body. There is beauty in friendships formed, in new chapters in life just beginning. We come to expect experiences like these to be beautiful; experiences that can be savored with all our senses, that evoke feelings of joy and even wholeness as we recollect them.

Then there are moments of trial and tribulation. The unexpected moments that, when remembered, can steal the very air from our lungs. The experiences in which, when we are in the thick of them, we cannot see any beauty around us consumed as we are by the darkness of pain. It is a pain caused by the perpetual brokenness of this world. Our expectations are met with disaster and we are afraid that we will never be able to heal.

As we walk through an ever-changing world, we can easily lose our bearing. All that seems to be left is heartache. We cannot keep up. Even so, when all the beauty in our lives is eclipsed by fear, worry, pain, distrust, or grief there is one truth that remains the same. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Such a simple truth with incredible power to help us see what is beautiful when all seems lost. We may live in a world that is broken and disappointing, but Jesus never changes. Jesus, who came into the world in the most unexpected way, who experienced firsthand the messiness that abounds, continues to meet us where we are and empathize with our experiences. The character of Jesus never changes and neither does his presence among us. Our God came down in the flesh to forgive and redeem our brokenness and our God continually renews us, day by day.

What if redemption is the most beautiful experience of our lifetime? Not redemption to come later in heaven, but the continued offer of redemption here on earth as it is in heaven. What if it is in the healing of brokenness—in our own hearts, our own lives—where we can see the beauty again? In the moments of our lives where we need Jesus the most. When the wounds are not yet healed over, watching the progress of healing gives hope for what is to come. We cling to what is good, even when the pain is still raw, still healing. In the same way, we can cling to the goodness of God, the one who never changes, even when goodness seems hard to find amid the circumstances, the people, and the world around us.

The unexpected trials we face invite us to recognize the ways in which the fractured places of our lives are being slowly mended by Jesus. When the pain and chaos of our world feel insurmountable, we can fix our hearts and minds on the beautiful and unexpected kindness of our Creator. God’s grace, which restores and renews, is unquenchable love breaking through the darkness of the world like a beacon of light.

Redemption is the unexpected beauty of brokenness; it is the art of taking what was once shattered and making it new. Jesus redeems the experiences of our lives that seem too far gone for repair; “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true” (Revelation 21:5). The redemption we have in Jesus, the newness promised to be trustworthy and true, anticipates a better tomorrow. Just like a sunrise casting light over the darkest of nights to bring a new day, Jesus is the Light that casts out the darkness of sin and brings forth a new beginning.



Words: Mary Taylor

Photography: Pieter Benjamin Nijs, Arūnas Naujokas

A broken tree in a forest
Moss growing over fallen trees
New forest growth covering a tree stump

Rediscovering the beauty of our lives in the midst of pain and struggle.



Life is filled with so many different beautiful experiences. Sunrises and sunsets bathe the sky in colors we could not imagine being real. Waterfalls at the end of a long hike bring a sound to the ear that can soothe a tired body. There is beauty in friendships formed, in new chapters in life just beginning. We come to expect experiences like these to be beautiful; experiences that can be savored with all our senses, that evoke feelings of joy and even wholeness as we recollect them.

Then there are moments of trial and tribulation. The unexpected moments that, when remembered, can steal the very air from our lungs. The experiences in which, when we are in the thick of them, we cannot see any beauty around us consumed as we are by the darkness of pain. It is a pain caused by the perpetual brokenness of this world. Our expectations are met with disaster and we are afraid that we will never be able to heal.

As we walk through an ever-changing world, we can easily lose our bearing. All that seems to be left is heartache. We cannot keep up. Even so, when all the beauty in our lives is eclipsed by fear, worry, pain, distrust, or grief there is one truth that remains the same. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Such a simple truth with incredible power to help us see what is beautiful when all seems lost. We may live in a world that is broken and disappointing, but Jesus never changes. Jesus, who came into the world in the most unexpected way, who experienced firsthand the messiness that abounds, continues to meet us where we are and empathize with our experiences. The character of Jesus never changes and neither does his presence among us. Our God came down in the flesh to forgive and redeem our brokenness and our God continually renews us, day by day.

What if redemption is the most beautiful experience of our lifetime? Not redemption to come later in heaven, but the continued offer of redemption here on earth as it is in heaven. What if it is in the healing of brokenness—in our own hearts, our own lives—where we can see the beauty again? In the moments of our lives where we need Jesus the most. When the wounds are not yet healed over, watching the progress of healing gives hope for what is to come. We cling to what is good, even when the pain is still raw, still healing. In the same way, we can cling to the goodness of God, the one who never changes, even when goodness seems hard to find amid the circumstances, the people, and the world around us.

The unexpected trials we face invite us to recognize the ways in which the fractured places of our lives are being slowly mended by Jesus. When the pain and chaos of our world feel insurmountable, we can fix our hearts and minds on the beautiful and unexpected kindness of our Creator. God’s grace, which restores and renews, is unquenchable love breaking through the darkness of the world like a beacon of light.

Redemption is the unexpected beauty of brokenness; it is the art of taking what was once shattered and making it new. Jesus redeems the experiences of our lives that seem too far gone for repair; “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true” (Revelation 21:5). The redemption we have in Jesus, the newness promised to be trustworthy and true, anticipates a better tomorrow. Just like a sunrise casting light over the darkest of nights to bring a new day, Jesus is the Light that casts out the darkness of sin and brings forth a new beginning.



Words: Mary Taylor

Photography: Pieter Benjamin Nijs, Arūnas Naujokas

New forest growth covering a tree stump

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Reflective thoughts and study of Philippians 4:6-7 on how God is in control in the midst of anxiety.

Creativity as Devotional Practice

A reflection on how we can approach the creative process as a devotional practice.

Adaobi Ugoagu Is On A Mission

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Additional readings

Finding God in Mystery and Wonder

How mystery and wonder invites us to seek God in newer and deeper ways.

On Relinquishing Control, A Prayer for Anxiety

Reflective thoughts and study of Philippians 4:6-7 on how God is in control in the midst of anxiety.

Creativity as Devotional Practice

A reflection on how we can approach the creative process as a devotional practice.

Adaobi Ugoagu Is On A Mission


We talk with fashion blogger/model Adaobi Ugoagu about the intersection of fashion, art and justice.