As I write, I have Bake Off: The Professionals in the background on the TV. There are mountains of desserts – literally – and delicate showpieces made of sugar and chocolate towering over workbenches. And then, a vital part of it falls. There is a collective intake of breath, followed by low moans. Sugar splinters. Chocolate is cracked. Hopes are dashed in an instant. And there’s no way back. You can try to stick things back together, but it is largely a fool’s errand, and they are always out of time anyway. The structural integrity is gone, and simple physics tells us that a broken thing isn’t as strong as a non-broken thing. All that is left is to make the best of an utterly hopeless situation and faithfully plonk anything salvageable in front of the judges and await judgement.
Romans 12:12 – “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.”
The good news is that this process couldn’t be more opposite to how our lives work if we have Jesus as our saviour. Things in our lives still fall down, and sometimes vital parts seem to come apart at the seams. But hope is not lost – in fact we can know the joy of the Lord even in the darkest of times. He is the anchor in the storm, the firm foundation. When our chocolate has cracked and we melt more to plaster over it, we come out the other side reinforced, stronger than ever. Like how the Japanese art of Kintsugi repairs broken ceramics with gold, and their value increases, so we are made perfect again by the blood of Jesus. Our repairs become our testimonies of his goodness, and the experience of them is a precious thing we can share with others to encourage them. They shine like gold when we have the light of the Holy Spirit within us.
If we keep faithfully bringing whatever we have and whatever we are to Jesus in prayer – even when we are an incomplete, half-finished mess – we will not have cause to fear. Our time in the competition is not over. Instead he lavishes us with extra time, provides new equipment, and coaches us through the process. Not to our deadlines, but to his. Hope is found in him, and we need to be ready to receive whatever he has for us.