Wednesday, November 6, 2013


I have a beautiful ring that my late husband Ted's sister gave me years ago. I didn't know its value or even what stone it was until I took it to a jeweler who told me it was an African opal. It flashes different shades of blue, green, red, and yellow depending on the light source. I have received many compliments on it.

 I didn't know how the gem was formed or where it was found until I came across the devotional by paraplegic Joni Tada of JONI AND FRIENDS below. Now I treasure it all the more as I think about its spiritual implications for my life. 

"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." Psalm 51:17

I've always loved opals, partly because that's my birth stone. But also because opals seem even more brilliant and full of fire than a diamond. Amazingly, this beauty comes from desert dust and silica from sand dunes. That's what opals are made of. They owe their beauty to a defect -- it's a stone with a broken heart. The opal is full of minute fissures that admit air, and then the air refracts the light. Because of this defect, the opal is all the more brilliant.

You and I who have broken hearts are sometimes only conscious of the cracks and the fissures. But out of all this God is making an opal heart. We must be broken in ourselves before we can give back the lovely hues of His light, including the fire, the brilliance. The Bible says that God can best use a heart that is broken and contrite. It's true in my life. When I'm self-sufficient and in control, my heart becomes a little hardened to others' needs. In fact, that self-sufficient attitude even hardens my heart toward God.

Ah, but then He allows it to a cutting yet true remark from a friend. Or rejection from someone whose opinion I respect. Or by a verse such as, "If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!" (1 Corinthians 10:12). Sometimes something beautiful will break my heart...a special hymn or the testimony of someone who has suffered. Only when my heart is fractured, full of minute fissures, can God's love enter in and refract His own light.

Next time you see an opal, think of how you must be broken before you can give back the lovely hues of God's light. Let the opal remind you to thank God for a broken heart.
Lord of my heart, thank You that You use brokenness to create beauty and that my defects are tools to serve Your purpose.

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