My $25 dresser find at Goodwill. Solid oak, beautiful marble top. Heavy as “homemade sin”. Just needed a little paint and new knobs.
I love finding “trash” and turning it into “treasures”. It goes along with my philosophy of “using it up.” It is practical, economical, environmental, creative and just plain fun.
Turning trash into treasures reminds me of God’s love and gift to us: He redeems, restores and recycles our experiences. There is nothing lost in God’s economy. He uses our failures, heartbreaks, hurts, sorrows all for redemption and re-purposing.
One of my favorite stories and verses in the Bible comes from Exodus. Joseph, after being betrayed, sold, falsely accused, imprisoned, and released, finds himself in charge of all Egypt’s food. He is second banana to Pharaoh. His brothers, the initial betrayers, leave their famine ridden country to come and try to buy grain. They do not know that Joseph is still alive. All they know is that they have to deal with this “Egyptian”. Eventually Joseph’s identity is shared with his siblings. While the siblings are visibly upset at seeing their brother whom they thought was lost, they do not ask for forgiveness for having “lost” (aka sold him into slavery) years ago. Joseph is the one who extends forgiveness to his brothers and says, (Exodus 50: 20) “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
I love how God takes the situation which others intend for harm and turns it around- both for the individual and for the larger community. He takes the brokenness and redeems and reshapes it into wholeness. Those whole individuals can become part of a larger community. It is a mosaic: the individual shards are brought together into a completed piece of beauty.
For myself, I love that God is in the recycling business. He can take anything that I experience and through His grace refashion it into something redeemable and good. I have seen time and time again God making things beautiful, in my own life, in the lives of family and friends and in the history of others. Individuals who have gone through hell on earth yet have come out on the other side- whole. It is those individual stories of redemption that encourage me to have faith in God when times are tough for me. Their story becomes interwoven into my story.
He calls us to be in the recycling business. He extends forgiveness and grace to each of us and asks that we extend that to others. He gives us the opportunity to join Him in being part of that redemption story.
If I am honest, while I can see the potential in a piece of furniture, a plant or cloth of material, I sometimes have trouble seeing the treasure in a problem person: those who, in certain church circles, are called “extra grace required” people.
I need to remember, like Joseph, that God is in control and that when things are difficult, trust Him. I may experience tough times but I need to hold on to the fact that if I completely trust Him, God will use whatever I experience and turn it into something beautiful. I also need to trust God that He is working out the same type of “recycling” in others, those who I think need “extra grace required”.
What about you? Do you recycle? Repurpose? Do you see potential in items? In people?