October 2012 - Vol.  63

Finding God’s Glory in Broken Places
by Camille Chippewa
“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.” 
– from a sermon by Saint Ambrose of Milan (330-397 AD)
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.

“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 kingdom. 

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.] 

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