A Cracked Mug

It is a sad day to break a favorite mug or dish, especially when it belongs to a set or has special meaning. One day while putting away the dishes, I bumped a favorite coffee mug against the metal hook in the cupboard where it hung with my set of stoneware. In a split second the deed was done, and the handle lay shattered among the other dishes. As I proceeded to toss the broken mug in the trash, I stopped and thought, I can fix this.

I went shopping and found a glue that could withstand microwave heat. Carefully I glued the pieces together and put the handle back in place. For a number of minutes I applied pressure as the glue bonded the brokenness. For a number of days I let the mug dry and then tested its durability by boiling a cup of coffee in the microwave and savoring every drop. The glue held firm.

A number of weeks later, to my horror, I broke a second mug. This time the handle lay in three pieces. This mended mug is much more fragile. Its brokenness needs more tender care and has required repeated fixing.

In my mind I saw a beautiful analogy of my life in the story of the cracked mug. God created me perfect and beautiful, pure and innocent. But along life’s way I have gotten banged and bumped. It is a sad day and God grieves when I crack, chip and break. God has carefully glued each break and with pressure restored my broken handle. Sometimes my mended cracks have needed repeated fixing.

A cracked mug is not throw-away trash. It has a story to tell. Each time I use the mug my fingers rub over the slightly raised ridge, and I remember the healed brokenness. The scarred mug still hangs on the hook—beautiful, preserved and worthy to be used.

And guess what? On Sunday I sit in a pew with other chipped, cracked and broken mugs. And I see God, the Redeemer that He is, restoring and mending each of His chosen vessels.

Paul understood the frailty of our humanness. He also understood the power of the resurrected life of Jesus at work in our brokenness. He wrote,

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels (*cracked pots),

  that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed;

we are perplexed, but not in despair;

persecuted, but not forsaken;

struck down, but not destroyed–

always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus,

that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”

II Corinthians 4: 7-10

*Pat’s interpretation

Pat Hertzler
November 25, 2007


  1. coleensr Said:

    Great writing, Pat! Maybe you should consider a devotional book someday!

  2. Phyllis Neugent Said:

    I would like permission to share A Cracked Mug with the men and women who are incarcertated in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and in the State Jails in Texas. I will not charge any type of fee at all…just want to share Jesus. thanks
    Phyllis Neugent
    2909 W Ave R
    Temple, TX 76504

    • Pat Said:

      You may share this-copy it- and use it in any way that blesses the men and women in prison. I have worked with prison ministry myself (local and with We Care Crusude in Alabama) and have shared this with the women in Alabama.

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