God’s Glory in Broken Places
“Know then, O beautiful
soul, that you are the image of God. Know that you are the glory of God.
Hear how you are his glory… Know then, O man, your greatness, and be vigilant.”
Saint Ambrose’s writing on the ultimate redemption and life “for the praise
of God’s glory” in all things reflects what I believe has been my personal
call to serve in Detroit this past summer.
– from a sermon
by Saint Ambrose of Milan (330-397 AD)
“The image and likeness of God is reflected in all of his creation and
in all people. Except me.” This is a lie that I have believed for most
of my life. While I possessed the inherent knowledge that I am not, and
never have been exempt from the whole work of God’s creation, my head and
my heart were in total disagreement of my share in the inheritance of God’s
I had recently finished a year of volunteer service in London, UK, called
“Standing in the Gap.” That year of service laid an excellent foundation
for me to grow in the knowledge that I am truly a child of God – but doubts
still lingered and continued to riddle my thoughts. For a long time I had
found it difficult to believe in God. This only made believing that I am
worthy of being loved an even greater struggle. Lacking the knowledge of
the true source of love – God himself – made it difficult to accept love
for myself. How can you accept something you don’t understand?
This past year I have begun to better understand who God is and how
great his love for each one of us. The Lord has healed my heart, but I
know that I am only at the beginning stage of what God wants to do in me
– still much work of his transforming grace needs to be done in me.
Deciding to come and serve in Detroit this past summer had been a struggle
for me. For quite a while I was unsure if I could really do it or not.
I did decide to come, but I arrived three weeks late into the program,
which meant I missed all of the program’s official training. While some
of the Detroit
Summer Outreach (DSO) team members may have felt under-prepared,
I just felt unworthy. “Why would I be asked to join the DSO team at such
a late date? Why I am worthy to serve here? Why would DSO want me, after
all? Am I really good enough?” The Lord answered my questions swiftly.
I am not here because I am superwoman. I am not here for my worthiness.
In fact, I believe I am here for my brokenness. I am broken, yet I am still
a “new creation” – a daughter refashioned in the Lord’s own glory. The
truth is, we are all broken sinful creatures, yet we are also, at the same
time, the Lord’s own pride and glory.
This past summer I have experienced the Lord’s glory and work of creation
through my work with children in Detroit, with many poor people in this
city, as well as with the brothers and sisters on the DSO team. The Lord
is at work to heal and refashion his people in his glory. The Lord has
been teaching me how to find strength in the broken places. It doesn’t
matter if the broken places are my own weaknesses, the brokenness of this
city, or any other brokenness I experience. The Lord’s own glory can work
in and through any broken vessel and he can make of our weakness something
that is great (2 Corinthians 4:7). Through our weakness we are made strong,
and that is something I need to “be vigilant” about and to never forget.
The Lord calls us to remember what he has done for us in Jesus Christ and
what he continues to do in and through us for his own glory. I pray that
I will continue to do that with his help, not only today, but tomorrow
and every day of my life.
[Camille Chippewa attends
Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA and is actively involved
in the University Christian Outreach
chapter at Calvin College.]