The pain passes, but the beauty remains

Several years ago during a very difficult time in my life a friend shared this story with me:

When French impressionist painter Auguste Renoir was confined to his home during the last decade of his life, Henri Matisse was nearly 28 years younger than him. The two great artists were dear friends and frequent companions. Matisse visited him daily. Renoir, almost paralyzed by arthritis, continued to paint in spite of his infirmities. One day as Matisse watched the elder painter work in his studio, fighting torturous pain with each brush stroke, he blurted out: “Auguste, why do you continue to paint when you are in such agony?”

Renoir said: “The pain passes but the beauty remains.”

Those words touched my heart in a profound way as I realized that my pain, in the hands of my God, was producing a beautiful brokenness.  I have never viewed suffering in the same light since then.

“The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.”  Psalm 34:18

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart – these O God, you will not despise.”  Psalm 51:17

If brokenness brings the nearness of God, why do we fight against it so much?  This pain is not a master sent to rule over us, but our servant, sent to work in us that wonderful work of conforming us to Christ. 

How insignificant our pain will be when we see it as the hand of the Potter, gently sculpting, meticulously crafting a vessel of honor fit for the Master’s use. Those scarred and broken places in my soul, they are covered with His fingerprints. 

The pain passes, but the beauty remains.

4 thoughts on “The pain passes, but the beauty remains

  1. ghostwriter May 20, 2009 / 5:07 am

    To answer you question we as christians fight agains brokeness because if we allow Him to break us will mean that He will be in control and not we ourselves.And christians or people in general,do not like when we are not in control of every situation.Brokeness brings a submisive spirit,and thats what God is looking for.

  2. Cheryl Hart April 30, 2013 / 8:00 am

    I came across your blog while searching for the author of the quote “The pain passes, but the beauty remains.”

    What a beautiful post. Simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing it.

  3. Kathleen Rapley May 31, 2015 / 2:38 pm

    Brokenness is weakness in the eyes of the world, but to the Lord it is courage and triumph and He rejoices in its beauty. For indeed brokenness of spirit is beauty. As Jesus was broken on the cross, so must we share in His sufferings if we would be risen with Him.

  4. JPF June 20, 2015 / 12:14 pm

    That is a great story. In reading your blog that follows, I am reminded of the Biblical verse from 2 Corinthians 12 where where God says “…My power is made perfect in your weakness”. Thank you for sharing!

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