Fragile as Glass
My husband and I were getting our porches ready for porch-sitting season in eastern Ohio. After power-washing the siding, we began to move things back into place–couch, coffee table, chairs, and a random shelf-less shelf unit where we used to hang baskets, hoses, tools, and the like.
Years ago, that shelf unit had moved with us from another house. It was a beautiful piece of furniture, and I really wanted to use it inside, but our small house didn’t have a suitable place. Consequently, it got ostracized to the back porch until I could come up with a better idea, and there it remained, because I never came up with a better idea. The unit became shelf-less because the shelves were made of glass and I wanted to protect them, so I stashed them behind the piano. Eventually, I just forgot about them, and the frame settled for being less of what it was created to be–useful, but less.
In any case, we were getting the porches ready for porch-sitting season. I thought, “Why not take out those shelves, clean them up, and use them to display pots of plants and herbs? That could be cute.” I mentioned it to my husband and he thought it was a decent idea, too. He brought the shelves out to the porch to be cleaned up.
We used window cleaner and a new rag to begin to return them to their former glory. He helped me with the first one since it was larger and heavier than the others, and a little awkward to put into the unit. Once in, it looked nice. Very nice! So I took the second shelf, sprayed it with window cleaner, and began wiping it down with the rag. Finishing one end, I turned the shelf and set the clean end on the porch floor so I could begin working on the other end. Then, to my absolute horror, the glass shelf slipped through the tiny opening between two boards and right through the porch floor!
Ever have one of those moments when life goes into slow motion? Well, that was one of those moments. I tried to grab it, but I just wasn’t fast enough, and the glass shelf slid between the boards of the porch and fell onto the concrete and gravel foundation about five feet below.
My dear husband responded matter-of-factly, “Well, that’s the end of that.” I love him.
Eventually, the shock wore off. I walked down the steps to survey the mess that would have to be cleaned up. Peering through the lattice panels that surrounded the area below the porch, I saw … a completely unbroken glass shelf. Unbelievable! Quickly (but carefully), I removed one of the lattice panels and crawled under the porch to look. Sure enough, the glass shelf was not only in one piece, but it was completely unscathed. There was not a scratch, crack, or chip on it.
Today, the cleaned and polished shelf sits where it was made to sit and does the job that it was made to do. The shelf unit is restored to what it was designed to be.
Afterward, I thought about that for a long time. I realized that my experience was a parable. Life is so fragile, just like glass. We can be moving through our daily routines, somewhat inconsiderate of our “fragile areas,” or maybe hiding them away to keep them “safe.” Then, for some reason, we decide to make ourselves vulnerable. We risk showing those frail areas to the world. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a crisis comes at us, and we are sure that it is the crisis that will smash us into a million unfixable pieces.
Then God shows up. He isn’t taken by surprise, He isn’t unprepared, and He isn’t too slow to act. The life that might have been destroyed is amazingly, unbelievably safe. That life is now equipped with a renewed purpose and a new testimony: “I could have been irreparably broken; I should have been completely shattered; but God …”
Is there something threatening to shatter you today? Remember who is looking out for you. He has promised that He will never leave you nor forsake you. God has not forgotten nor canceled the plans He has for you. In fact, He says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
May God hold you through all your fragile moments.