Strange thing is my older brother, Ron, shared that ordeal at the very same instant.
Might be hard to believe, but it was caused by a clown!
You see, my Dad had visited Italy. He brought back two beautiful blown glass clowns made by the famous Murano glassblowers. They were one of my mother’s most prized possession, prominently displayed in her formal living room so that guests could not miss them.
Now, in one traumatic moment, one of them was lying on the floor in more pieces than Humpty Dumpty ever dreamed. As we stared down at the shattered clown Ron and I were apocalyptic—we knew that the end was near.
Mom was a wonderful, gentle woman…but, well, she loved her clowns. She also really believed in the Bible verse “beat thy son with a rod, he will not die!” Ron and I were not so sure about the second half of that verse.
Now to be fair, the shattered condition of the clown was a complete accident. I mean, most boys slide all the furniture to the outer walls and set up a WWE championship ring in the formal living room when their parents are away, don’t they?
Unfortunately, during one of the epic body slams, the clown got a bit too close to the ring and became an unwitting victim.
Now he was in pieces…and we were fixin’ to be!
We considered gluing it back together, but figured we were no more adept at it than all the king’s horses and men. So instead, we hid the pieces and acted as if mom would never notice. That bit of genius did not work out so well. We kinda needed all those horses and men to put us back together after mom found out.
The shattered clown is the vivid picture that flashed into my mind this morning as I read what has become my wife’s favorite Bible verse.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
I did a bit of poking around and discovered that Peter used some really colorful words in describing how Jesus is a master at putting the pieces of shattered lives back together.
“Cast” is a word that involves throwing aggressively. Picture hurling, chucking, dumping. It involves complete divestiture. Interestingly, it is the exact word used in the Gospels to describe Judas “casting” the silver coins back at the religious leaders after he realized what they were going to make out of his betrayal (Matt 27:5).
“Care” = anxiety. The root word means shattered, fragments, splits. It describes the frustration that comes from trying to glue the pieces back together all by yourself. In the famous Parable of the Soils, Jesus used the word when referencing the distractions of the world that divide our attention and rob us of the impact of truth.
Peter knew a bit about shattered stuff. He certainly remembered when his life lay in shambles, his faith was in pieces, his big dreams in fragments on the ground. And he knew the frustrating, paralyzing anxiety that came from realizing there was no way he could ever put it back together.
So he did what my brother and I had done with the clown—hid it. He decided to go back to fishing where he could blend in and hide among the familiar.
But Jesus had a different idea. He wanted to reconstruct Peter’s life so that his brokenness became a badge of grace—a testimony to Jesus’ capacity to make something useful again no matter how badly it was shattered.
Much of our anxiety (care) is caused by looking at a pile of pieces that have to go together–it is not optional. And we simply do not know where to start. It is the tension of putting a puzzle together without the picture or assembling a complicated piece of equipment without instructions.
But Peter also knew you could gather up the pieces and just throw them at Jesus, simply because He cares. He is passionate about rebuilding, restoring and reusing our lives. He is not afraid of our fractures because He knows that when the fragments are reassembled, the vessel will be stronger in those broken places.
It is fascinating that one of the few times this word “care” is used in the New Testament is when the disciples saw everything coming apart at the seams while fighting a raging storm on the Galilean lake. “Master, don’t you care if we drown?” (Mark 4:38)
When things are falling apart or lie shattered on the ground, our first instinct is to wonder if God gives a rip. Not does He know…but does He care.
He does. Deeply.
Jesus loves to pick up the pieces of the broken stuff in our lives and gently…care-fully…re-assemble them the way they were supposed to be in the first place. What comes out of that rebuilding is far better—more authentic and usable—than before the breaking.
Life has a way of shattering our pictures…sometimes we do it to ourselves, sometimes others are the cause. Sometimes it is just the result of living in a broken world. The reality is, many times there is some assembly required to make life work again.
That is when you take all the pieces of the stuff you can’t fix and chuck them full-force at Jesus trusting that you really matter to Him.
Let Him carry your cares.