And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. – The Apostle Peter
What do storms, earthquakes, wars, erosion, and rotten wood have in common? For one, they have been the leading cause for the reconstruction and/or relocation of many lighthouses throughout the world. In the early years of lighthouses, people used whatever materials were available locally to build them: wood, brick, and stone. And while these life-saving towers were successful in warning and guiding mariners to safety, they only lasted until their next big battle against man or nature. Many of them had to be rebuilt more than once, but with the advancements in technology and engineering not only where they made stronger but lasted a lot longer. A few of these “saviors of the seacoast” are still standing —some for more than 200 years!
Located on Little Brewster Island in Massachusetts, the Boston Light (pictured above) is the first of American lighthouses. Originally built in 1716, the tower is older than the republic itself. It is one of the many lighthouses to overcome several calamities and still stand tall and strong. The tower first suffered its major disaster in 1775 when Minutemen set fire to it in retaliation against a British blockade. Although it was quickly repaired, the tower was destroyed by gunpowder the following year.
C. early 1780s, from a painting by Capt. Matthew Parke. This image apparently depicts the original tower before its 1776 destruction.
The present tower was rebuilt in 1783 to its original height of 75 ft. and in 1856 it was raised another 23 ft. One can only imagine the punishment that this and other lighthouses have faced given their location. Exposed not only to inclement weather and the elements of the sea but to intentional damage as well, they have truly endured the test of time. Many of them, like the Boston Light, have undergone a series of renovations and restorations to fortify their structure and preserve them for posterity. Today, Boston Light and many others are still standing and shining their light as a symbol of perseverance, strength, and commitment.
Imagine giving up on a project simply because it initially broke down. If that was the norm, we wouldn’t have the vacuum cleaner, the automobile, the light bulb, the airplane, or even the life-saving sentinel of the sea a.k.a. the lighthouse. Failure and brokenness are inevitable in life. And while they may normally be regarded as setbacks, they are actually the first step to success. Plus, they grant the opportunity to start over again more intelligently. Failures have inspired the greatest inventions. Brokenness has helped build the strongest of armies.
Perfection can only be found in God. And while He created man in His image and likeness (the ability to commune with God, to reason, and to choose) sin put a spiritual wedge between man and His Creator. It broke the perfect fellowship/intimacy that they once enjoyed before the fall. Hence why Jesus came.
The brokenness caused by original sin can be immediately repaired through repentance and the acceptance of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross. However, because we are still in a mortal body and are part of a fallen world we have yet to experience the fullness of that redemption; the day when all sin is eradicated forever. Until then, we will face many battles with temptation, sickness, the consequences of disobeying God, and even persecution.
Like the many lighthouses that fell apart due to the forces of nature, there will be times when we too will be broken by life’s adversities. But, we can also be restored and emerge stronger than before. Through His Word and the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, God can rebuild that which has been broken by trials and by sins (of commission and omission). And that which God himself repairs will stand exceedingly greater than that which stood before it was broken. Therefore, the most distressing brokenness we can ever experience can actually help us become significantly stronger in character and in faith.
The key to remaining standing in the midst of our brokenness is to keep in mind who we are and what our calling is in Christ. Jesus said, “You ARE the light of the world.” In spite of the storms of discouragement, wars of opposition, earthquakes of fear, erosions of uncertainty, and all other challenges we may face in life, we ought to continue shining as lighthouses for God.
When our foundation is built on the Rock (Jesus) He is the melody in times of peace, the anchor in the midst of the storm, and the mender when we are broken. His restorative touch not only rebuilds our faith but increases our resolve to persevere. So, keep your eyes on Jesus, trust His word, depend on His faithfulness, and remember that He can use brokenness to bring strength —strength that can serve as an encouragement to others who are broken.
Prayer: Mender of the broken, Healer of my soul, I call upon you today and ask that you touch me. Strengthen me in the hour of my need so that I may continue to shine brightly for your glory. In the midst of my brokenness, I will praise you and know that once I am restored I will be stronger than ever before. In the precious name of Jesus, I pray, amen.