There’s a big beautiful church in Los Angeles called Angelus Temple. It is quite old and has withstood numerous natural disasters, etc. Honestly, there is so much rich history about that building, it’s definitely worth learning about. I had the privilege of going to an amazing conference there in February, 2018, and what struck me the most about this building was its stained glass windows. I’m sure they were 2 stories tall (I haven’t actually checked), but stunningly beautiful, each carefully depicting a significant moment in Jesus’ life.
Shortly after I got home from this trip, my then 8 year old daughter was struggling with questions about life. “How come I’ve prayed so much for my mommy and daddy to get back together, and God didn’t answer my prayer? What’s the point of praying for things if he’s not going to answer? Why did God let this happen in the first place? Why do things have to be so hard? Why is my heart so broken?”
I sat there with my eyes closed for a minute, not knowing what to say. “Jesus, what do I tell my child? How can I answer her questions when they’re the same ones I have?”
But Jesus, being the ever so loving and faithful Father he is, gave me the words and wisdom to answer both of us at the same time. “Olivia, I want to show you some really cool pictures I took while I was on my trip.” I showed her the pictures I took of the big beautiful stained glass windows in this large church, including the one above. I zoomed in and pointed out all the little details of each window. She thought they were so pretty.
“Olivia, to make a stained glass window, you first have to take a big piece of coloured glass, and break or cut it into a thousand smaller pieces. Then you take all the different pieces of the broken or cut, coloured glass, and fit them together to make a picture. I know you feel like your heart has been broken or cut into a thousand pieces. Mine has to. People make choices, or things happen beyond our control that break our heart, and sometimes we feel like there’s just no way our heart will ever be the same. And in most cases they won’t. And that’s ok, because we can give the pieces of our broken heart to Jesus, and he will not only carefully pick them all up, he’ll also lovingly put them back together in a way that will make the most stunning picture. Anything we give him, he makes beautiful. I don’t know what the future holds for our family, but I do know that no matter what it looks like, it will be wonderful and beautiful, just like these stained glass windows.”
I gave her a big hug and kiss, wiped the tears from her eyes, then mine. “Does that help a bit?”
“Yes,” she said, with a smile on her face. “Ok, I’m going to go play now.”
We’ve had many conversations before and since then, but that is the only one I can really remember. Maybe because it helped me just as much as it helped her. Now every time we see a stained glass window, she always smilingly points it out to me.
“But I will give all my thanks to you, Lord, for you make everything right in the end.” Psalm 7:17a (Passion Translation)