Monday, December 15, 2008

My life is like a stained glass panel

I often have what I consider to be profound thoughts late at night. In the cold light of day, they don't always stand the 'profoundness' test, but this one I had late Saturday night while in the throes of killer insomnia, did stand the test.
Have you ever thought how much your life as a child of God is like a stained-glass panel? As I mentioned in a previous post, my son enjoys watching a PBS how-to show all about stained glass. I often watch with him, and the correlations between my life and the glass have emerged show by show. Here are some that I've come up with, though I'm sure there are many.
1) There is a Designer with a plan the glass knows nothing about. The glass has no say in this plan, it is the desire of the Designer that comes first. The glass exists to please the Designer. We exist at the pleasure of and for the glory of our Designer. His plans are perfect and being worked out according to the pleasure of His will. We are not privy to the entire design, but we know it will be for our good and His glory.
2) In order to be of any use--and this seems counter-intuitive--the glass must be broken. A single sheet of whole glass is pretty enough, but it doesn't suit the plan of the Designer. He wants to fit and join together the pieces of our lives into a glorious whole that reflects His glory.
3) Sometimes the breaking is bold, sharp, and quick. Large chunks cracked off with loud noise and big tools. A move, a job-loss, an emotional upheaval, a death of a loved one...there are many ways that a sudden breaking in our life can occur. This is when we must hold on to the truth that the Designer is in control and has a plan for our good.
4) Sometimes the breaking is slow and grinding. One of the cool things I think appeals to my son with the glass-work is all the neat tools. One of the tools is a grinding wheel. The Designer holds a piece of glass up to the diamond-encrusted wheel and grinds to powder any part of the glass He doesn't want to use. Have you ever been held up to the grinder by God? It might be through the persistent, gentle correction of a friend. It might be through a long journey of suffering like an illness. It might even be through a particularly tough set of Sunday School lessons (KEVIN!) that makes you think about things you wish you didn't have to.
5) Heat is always applied to meld pieces of the glass together. Do you have any heat in your life? Stress, decisions to be made, holiday cookies and cards and caroling to see accomplished? We all have heat. Sometimes the heat is in having to confront a friend. Sometimes it is in having to say no to someone or something. Sometimes it is persecution from an unexpected source. Heat takes all sorts of forms in our life, but without it, the glass can't be melded together.
6) Stained glass looks best when seen through a powerful light. What good does it do to put a beautiful panel of stained glass flat on a table-top? It was meant to be viewed through strong light, sunlight, where every beautiful line and piece shows and glows. Our lives are just like that. We are best displayed when the light of God's Word shines through us. When people can see the Glory of God illuminating all the breaks, grinds, and heat-induced seams in our lives.
How about you? Have you been broken up, ground up, or heated up lately? Is God fitting together the pieces of your life into a beautiful whole for His glory? Is the light of God showing through you, making your life shine?


  1. Hey!

    What did I do?

    (BIG GRIN)

    If you think it's been hard for you in that class, just think about this: I've been working on that book (Respectable Sins) for over a year now. Talk about some real grinding.

  2. Yep, heat and stress! Great analogy.

  3. You always have such a great way of looking at things.

  4. Erica, this is very profound. Lovely.