This week, as I was packing up our china cabinet for an upcoming move, the cabinet detached from the wall and everything still in it fell out on the floor. As you can see from the photo, there was a lot of china and glass smashed into little bits. There is nothing quite as shocking as watching shelves full of breakable things fall in front of your eyes while you stand by, helplessly watching the destruction.
There were some things saved in the fall. One was a set of four glasses that we received as a wedding present. They were made of thick glass and although they were on the top shelf of the cabinet, they merely bounced and rolled when they hit the pile of debris. What a great wedding present–something we can use for the duration of our marriage as these glasses are obviously going to endure! They remind me of people who are able to stand without falling through the trials of life. They seem to be naturally strong and resilient like these glasses.
The other thing that did not break was my English teapot. My parents bought it for me many years ago in England and I think of my mother, who is now with the Lord, every time I use it. Amazed, I picked up the teapot and its lid, which had fallen in different spots on the mound of shards and inspected them. There wasn’t a crack or even a chip in either of them. How could this teapot have survived when the rest of my teapot collection had smashed to smithereens?! How do frail, weak people who we think will fall and be destroyed in difficult circumstances, stand strong and prevail? The only possible explanation is that they, like my teapot, are protected, saved by the hand of our Heavenly Father. They are like Christian in The Pilgrim’s Progress who was saved from the City of Destruction. They aren’t strong in themselves but the Lord is their Helper and Shield in the raging tide of life.
Another lesson I learned from this event was that it is necessary to separate the things I really need and love from the jumble of things that I own. Every time I attempt to weed through my things, whether they are china and crystal or clothing or books, I struggle with knowing what to keep and what to give away. So often I keep far too much. This domestic disaster helped me to see that the Lord can sift through my material possessions and save the truly important (glasses that will have much use; a much loved teapot) while ridding me of the rest, even family antiques which I’m sorry to lose. He will also sift through my heart and my mind, ridding me of my chaff, my sins, and only saving the righteousness of Christ in me.
I’m sure that there will be more lessons learned from this breaking of precious things. For now I will rejoice in what was saved and work on letting go of what I lost.