Wednesday, July 19, 2017
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I felt kind of bad for our friend Peter. My wife, Karen, wanted him to raid the garbage for her. See, I've been there many times myself, believe me. But this time, they were driving around, Karen turned to Peter and his wife for help. They were driving past a gas station where Karen saw it-a big, green, silk plant, upside down in the dumpster. Too big for Karen to fetch, and too good, she thought, to leave there. So, my garbage picking honey turned to poor Peter, in his suit and tie, and asked him if he would make his way over to that dumpster. Well, he did, looking both directions, desperately hoping he could be invisible for a couple minutes. Sure enough, he pulled the thing out of the trash and put it in the back of our station wagon. This is a very secure man. And about that trashed plant...well, very soon it began to greet us day after day as we entered the reception area at our office. It's a classy-looking, silk Ficus plant, or that's what my wife told me. Karen saw something in it, even though it had been thrown away; something I can tell you I would have missed.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Something Beautiful In The Garbage".
Now, if Karen taught me anything, she has taught me over and over again that something beautiful can come out of the trash. Actually, a lot of things we would have never had, if we hadn't found them in the garbage.
Now, in many ways, our painful times, our suffering times, or our hurting times, don't they feel sort of like the garbage times of our life. There's a lot you might be going through right now that is anything but beautiful. And yet, some very beautiful things can come out of that garbage. If you handle your hurting times like your Savior did.
Which brings us to our word for today from the Word of God, 1 Peter 2:21-23, "Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His steps. 'He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth.' When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly." Jesus showed us how to suffer; how to handle the garbage times in our life.
If He's our example of how to suffer, we've got to go back to His cross to see what that means, and see what beautiful things can come out of the garbage. At the cross of Jesus, we find, I think, three ways to redeem the hurting times of our lives. First, as He was undergoing excruciating agony, He told John to take care of His mother. The first way to redeem your hurting time is to look out for those you love even if you don't feel like it. That's what Jesus did.
Our tendency is to become all inward and self-focused when we're going through a difficult time, all about "me". And that's guaranteed to just make it even more difficult. The Jesus-way is to look out for the needs of others, when you're hurting so bad you just want everybody to be looking out for yours.
In the midst of His pain, Jesus also said, "Father, forgive them." (Luke 23:34) That's the second way to redeem your hurting times-forgive those who hurt you. If Jesus could forgive the people who nailed Him to that cross, surely He can give you the grace to forgive the people who have hurt you. If you don't, the bitterness inside you will do far more damage than any of the suffering you're going through.
And remember, Jesus said to the man on the cross next to Him, "Today you will be with Me in paradise." (Luke 23:43) There's the third way to redeem your hurting time-work on taking someone to Heaven with you. Your suffering time actually puts you in the prime position to be living proof of the difference Jesus makes. Your pain is your greatest platform to tell someone about the Man who died for them.
If you'll look out for those you love, and forgive those who hurt you, and work on taking someone to heaven with you, you'll be in the middle of God's 'garbage miracles'. I've watched my wife pull something beautiful out of a pile of ugly stuff. Well, wait till you see what God does with what you're going through right now!