How Could God Create Something So Flawed? — RUBY ANSWERS

Dear Ruby,

I’m 16, and I’m having a really hard time figuring out whether or not I’m actually worth anything. I can’t seem to see how our Heavenly Father could create something so flawed. I look at myself and feel only contempt. Please… How can I fix this?

Broken

 

Dear Broken,

I read your question on the eve of July 4th. I was resting alone on a bench, watching a series of brilliant fireworks crackle and shine over a shimmering mountain lake. Moments earlier, I had observed a glowing sunset tuck arms of orange and red and gold into a deep pocket of violet mountains. It was truly one of the most beautiful scenes I had experienced with my own eyes. And then my phone lit up with the email containing your submission, and I read your words, gently placed my phone on the wooden bench next to me, closed my eyes, and cried. But they weren’t the kind of tears I usually cry when I’m sad or lonely or scared. They weren’t anything like the ones I shed when my brother left on his mission or when my grandpa died or when I broke up with a boy who I thought was the most sincere love of my life. These tears were new. They spuriously flowed from a deep hollow in my heart that I didn’t even know existed until I sat on that bench beneath that sunset on the edge of that water. And I don’t know how long I cried.

My dear, sweet, beautiful girl, I don’t know you. I don’t know what it is that causes you to experience the brokenness and contempt of which you speak; I certainly I don’t know what I could ever say to help heal you. And as I sat there in that moment by the lake on the eve of July 4th, I realized just how many things I don’t know. I don’t know why God felt the need to create mosquitoes. I don’t know why some children are born to parents who don’t love them, or why others are born to parents who do. I don’t know how the Theory of Relativity works, or why people rape other people, or if I’m going to be a good mother. I certainly don’t know much about love. I don’t know how it works, or why it sometimes isn’t returned or why it both wholly creates and crushes worlds. I don’t even know what I did to deserve that beautiful moment by the lake. But, I know that I cried for you.

One of my favorite scriptural passages is found in the Pearl of Great Price when God talks with Moses. Moses is a man I’ve always admired, because he was just an ordinary guy that God asked to do a lot of extraordinary things, and in Moses 1, he and God spend a long time discussing the marvels of the worlds, the people who inhabit them, and God’s relationship with each one.  And God tells Moses that He wants to show him all of His creations. He says that His “works and words are without end,” and that “they never cease.” Moses looks at God’s marvelous, expansive creations—all of them: “there was not a particle, not a soul which he beheld not, and their numbers were great, even numberless as the sands upon the sea shore.” So, God and Moses have this incredibly enlightening interaction where God shows him everything. And I imagine God says something like “Look, Moses. I have created all of these worlds and all of these plants and animals and rocks and trees. And I’ve created all these people with all their joys and heartbreaks, successes and infirmities, smiles and tears. Millions of them. Billions of them. They are without end.” And Moses beholds it all.

Have you ever been in the mountains on a cloudless night, Broken? I have. It’s one of my most favorite things in the whole wide world: to lie on a blanket, or in my sleeping bag, or next to someone I love, and just gaze at the vastness, the deepness of the sky, and the endless speckles of light that rest there. The stars have a way of causing me to feel so magically insignificant, you know? Because the universe is so massive and dark and endless. And I’m just me—lying there on a blanket or in a sleeping bag or next to someone I love. And I’m so small compared to that sky and those billions of endless speckles, and whenever I stare at them, I can’t help but feel just unimaginably meaningless in a brilliantly meaningful world. So, I can’t even begin to comprehend what it must of felt like to be Moses when he spoke with God that day, but the scriptures say that after God withdrew His presence, Moses “fell unto the earth,” so it must have been something like pretty overwhelmed and similarly meaningless. And God must have known that. He must have known how insignificant Moses felt in that moment, or how insignificant I feel whenever I look at the stars, or how insignificant you feel right now. He knew, because He told Moses, “There are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power, by the workmanship of mine hands. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine, and I know them. The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine.”

Dearest, Broken, reading your words filled me with a pain so real and so tangible, I felt I could reach out and grasp it with my hands—hands that often feel so small next to massive mountain ranges and brilliant sunsets and deep night skies. Hands I now use to type these words with the hope that something I write will fill you with even a spark of understanding of how meaningful you are. How smart, how brave, how important. And just as I use my hands to combine these words and create these sentences, God used His hands to create you. And He knows you. Out of all the plants and animals and rocks and trees and smiles and tears, He really knows you. And His work and His glory—His very purpose–is to bring to pass your immortality and eternal life, because He made you with His very own hands. And while there is so much that I truly don’t know, I do know that.

I believe the tears I shed for you that night, the ones I didn’t recognize and had never felt before? I believe they represented a briefly divine moment. And though they may be fleeting, I think occasionally, God sends us flickers of divine light to help us appreciate how amazing all of this is—how amazing our lives are and how many amazing things we get to do while we live them. He wants us to understand how special it is that He created us, and how powerful His love is. And as I gazed at the sparkling fireworks and blazing sunset through teary eyes on the eve of July 4th, I understood just that. Hold on, beautiful girl. Because He loves you, and you’re worth everything to Him. And maybe you’re flawed. And maybe you’re broken. But you’re His. And He knows you.

Ruby

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Are you searching for an answer to a particularly difficult, embarrassing, or confusing question? Perhaps you're unsure about a tumultuous relationship in your life or feel overwhelmed by concerns you have about God, friends, family, or even yourself. Maybe you're feeling hopelessly lost, or, gratefully found. Ruby wants to hear from you! Submit your anonymous questions and letters in the 'Ask Ruby' box, located on the right side of the page, and read previous Q&As by clicking on the Ruby Answers tab.

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  • Annalee
    July 11, 2016 at 6:30 am

    This is an amazing post and something I’m going to come back to when I feel the same. Thank you Ruby. Yes, this was inspired.

  • Michelle Lehnardt
    July 11, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    Such a beautiful response. Thanks Ruby. And Broken– please know you are loved, you are loved, you are loved. God loves broken things– there’s room for Him in the cracks and holes of our lives.

  • Suzanne
    July 11, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    Thank you Broken, for reminding me that when God Said “let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly” He meant that as a commandment and that I need to be certain I don’t entertain these dark thoughts. God made man and woman that we might have joy. Only Satan rejoices when we allow ourselves to continually think less of who God made us to be. He loves us despite our flaws. We can’t expect to be perfect without His love and mercy. You must fight these thoughts because you like me are worthy of His love and guidance dispute our imperfections. I love you too. My heart swells with love and my eyes blue with tears as I send this powerful love to you out there in this great big beautiful world we live in. Thanks Ruby for your inspired words of wisdom.

  • Emi
    July 11, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    When the resurrected Christ visited the Nephites he asked his followers to feel wounds in his hands and sides. Without the broken body of Jesus, we could not be made whole. He was pierced for our transgressions, he bled for our sorrows.

    During his mortal ministry, Jesus visited the pool of Bethesda, where multitudes seeking healing would wait to be the first to enter the water after it was troubled by an Angel. There was an impotent man there who had suffered and sought healing for 38 years.

    The Bible reads: “When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?

    The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.

    Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.

    And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked.” [John 5:2–9]

    I love that Christ asks, “Wilt thou be made whole?” Christ provided a newness of life, healing, the ability to be made whole to this man and he does the same for us – you and me. Through the power of his atonement and resurrection – we may say “I have no man to help me!” yet Christ beckons us with his healing hands. He asks us to rise and walk. Christ rose from death so that we can rise in life, so that we can walk and be made whole.

    Our Savior and Heavenly Father love broken things: the broken ground where a temple will rise, broken bread taken at the time of the sacrament (in remembrance of his body broken), broken clouds that give rain, broken people who rely on Him for healing, and broken hearts where seeds of faith and testimony have space to be planted, to be nourished and to grow. Remember, Christ is a healer who loves broken things – and has the ability to use us (imperfect as we may be), and even heal and repair us (through the atonement) – perfectly.

  • Katri Koehle
    July 11, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    Thank you for this beautiful post. I will keep it in my heart today!

  • Lily
    July 12, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    One of my favorite visuals for the concept of grace comes from my mom. Imagine a paper plate. It works well, but it doesn’t take much to tear it up, does it? We often think that God fixes broken things, so of course, if we are like that plate, He’d tape us back together again, right? He does more than that- He gives us something better. Rather than returning to us a “fixed” paper plate, we get a brand new china plate. Please remember that not only does Heavenly Father love you, not only is the atonement their to fix broken people, but that God is there to help you find the gold in yourself- that priceless ruby that He sees every time He looks at you. You are loved.

  • Troy
    January 8, 2017 at 8:01 am

    I just read this for the first time and am completely overwhelmed with the amount of insight, love for another of God’s children, and understanding it has! You have a talent and a measure of charity rarely seen today! Keep sharing for everyone’s benefit please!