The rate at which humanity wastes and disregards limited resources has grown tremendously in recent decades. In our hurried lives we crave disposable items as we move through life “on the go” day to day at an increased pace. Passionate voices behind the recycle and reuse movements have presented catchy campaigns, hard data, and persuasive reasons for us to reuse, recycle, and repurpose. Amidst a culture and society so focused on reusing tangible resources, we must not miss the brilliance in the fact that the Giver and Creator of all resources, has demonstrated a model of recycling from the beginning of time.
Truly, God is in the recycling business. All throughout the Bible we see God repurpose and resuse lives who have unbelievable amounts of garbage in them. Noah was a drunk, David an adulterer, Jonah ran from God in rebellion, Paul a murderer, the list goes on and on through our Bible genealogy of hero’s of the faith. Our faith in Jesus offers us so much more then forgiveness of sins and eternity in heaven. God’s offer to every believer is new life here on earth, an exchange of the trash of your past for a repurposed future.
Each and every one of us has baggage. We’ve hurt others. Others have hurt us. We’ve lived selfishly. We’ve been angry, hateful, jealous, bitter, prideful, lustful, and impatient. We’ve all done things we are ashamed of, and it’s easy to cringe at the thought of the garbage that is unique to our “life trashcan” being pulled out to be recycled. The enemy of our souls so easily tricks Christians into living in such a viscous shame cycle that we beg Jesus to just take our trash away!
“Dispose of it quietly…” we plead.
In Romans 8:28, it says that God works all things for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
God has a purpose and a redemptive plan, even in our screwups. I believe that one of the ways this purpose plays out most practically in our lives is when we cooperate with the way God desires to recycle our regrets, mistakes and suffering. Sadly, our world has prevalent suffering, trials, unexpected hardships and unfair circumstances that consistently weaves in and out of each of our lives on an almost daily basis. None of us are exempt, and though we grapple and strive for control or predictability of our future, it can never be adequately attained.
2 Corinthians 1:4 lays out God’s recycling plan for our lives with such purpose,
“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
God guides us, strengthens us, enables us, protects us and moves us through “lifes moments” so that we can recycle our experiences of His faithfulness to help others. As God recycles our lives He uses our testimonies to provide tangible references to the promises found in scripture. When we’ve experienced joy in the middle of heartbreaking circumstances, we exemplify hope in the darkness (Ps 30;11). When we’ve experienced provision in dire circumstances, we can testify to the God who controls all the riches in the world. (Matthew 6:31-32) When we’ve experienced His protection against those who slander or who wish to harm us, we are living proof that even when others mean harm, God can shield, undo, or thwart their advances. (Genesis 50:20).
Just as one must be intentional about recycling physically here on earth, we must be equally diligent in allowing God to recycle our life garbage. We must cooperate in allowing Him to take our trash, expose it, break it down, remanufacture and repurpose it however He sees fit. We must be receptive and responsive to the still and quiet voice that leads us in this process. I truly believe God desires to waste nothing in our lives. Every experience, hardship and trial can be used to refine us, encourage others and give Him glory.
Friends, everyday you are given a choice. You can choose to wastefully trash your life experiences, or, you can be intentional about inviting God to recycle your trash and bring forth treasure.