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Hope is for the Broken


James 1:2-4 —"Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials, because the testing of your faith produces perseverance so that you may be complete in Christ."

Hope Unlimited. That is the promise of the Great Commission. In the cruel and oppressive slums of Brazil, millions of social orphans are among the most hopeless human beings on the face of the earth. They’ve lost all hope for many reasons - wretched poverty, social ostracism, the daily threat of death. But contributing most, for many street children, is being told they were a mistake, unwanted, and worthless – sometimes by their own birth parents, who had long since succumbed to their own generational inheritance of depravity and hopelessness.

That’s why my father and I chose the orphans of Brazil for our service in the Great Commission. For who needs hope more than those completely bereft of hope?

My father used to say that the heartbeat of every true believer conveyed a message with every twin beat. Thump thump. Thump thump. To know Him / to make Him known. To know Him / to make Him known.

“Making Him Known” is the fulfillment of the Great Commission. It demands love. Not just any kind of love, but holistic love, the kind that makes your heart ache when confronted with physical, emotional, and spiritual brokenness. And the only way to truly prove the existence of that holistic love is through our actions.

In our desire to serve the Great Commission, we partnered with hundreds of individuals who shared our vision in order to establish large residential campuses in Brazil, able to offer multiple services –kind of full-service centers for human brokenness, allowing us to make Him known by tending and mending physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual brokenness.

When despairing youth come to us, we are able to share with them some encouraging news: God loves you, and can use your very brokenness to make you even stronger! To illustrate this, on the cafeteria wall is a huge mural of a vase. The vase is full of cracks, and the cracks are lined with gold. Beside it is this verse, adapted from James 1:2-4:

Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials, because the testing of your faith produces perseverance so that you may be complete in Christ.

The restored vase represents an ancient form of Japanese art called “kintsugi.” Skilled artisans take broken pots and vases and carefully put them back together again. And what do they use to repair the cracks? Pure molten gold! Sad, broken cracks are transformed into seams of shimmery gold. Pots that were deemed useless and worthless trash are transformed into beautiful, priceless works of art.

We tell our children that this image represents the power of God to restore us. The Bible overflows with heroes of our faith made stronger through their brokenness. Moses lived as an outcast for 40 years, fearing punishment and death, before returning to lead the Israelites out of slavery. David endured 20 years on the lam, hiding in caves with a death warrant hanging over his head, before becoming the king of Israel. Even our Lord Jesus Christ persevered suffering and death upon a cross before ascending into heaven. God uses our brokenness for His glory!

The fulfillment of the Great Commission involves restoring fallen and broken vases. The work of restoration, through holistic ministry, often requires hard work and sacrifice. But our painstaking efforts are rewarded because God gives us something infinitely more valuable than gold with which to mend those cracks: the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.. And the restored vessel, filled with Unlimited Hope, is truly priceless.

Philip Smith

Hope Unlimited for Children, Brazil

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