Monday, January 20, 2003
The first time I ever landed in New York City, it was at LaGuardia Airport. And as I chatted with the folks who met my plane, they told me something I wasn't sure I wanted to know. They said, "You know, Ron, your plane just landed on the garbage of New York City." Excuse me? Well, they explained to me that LaGuardia Airport is built on landfill that extends out into Jamaica Bay. Landfill - as in the garbage of New York. Well, so far none of those runways has sunk into the bay. It's pretty amazing what engineers can do with our garbage, huh?
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "Your Recycling Miracle."
Actually, I believe that God invented recycling. See, He has this amazing ability to recycle the garbage of our lives into something beautiful, something useful, something that can really make a difference. It happens through a process that God describes in our word for today from the Word of God. It's in 2 Corinthians 1, beginning at verse 3.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." Now, obviously, you can never experience God's comfort without some things in your life that are uncomfortable. And the greater the discomfort, the more His comfort means to you, maybe the deeper you experience it.
Through the troubles, we learn compassion. Through the trash, we develop a sensitivity to other wounded people - if we surrender our pain and our wounds and our memories to the God of all comfort. Now, if we hang onto our wounds, they will just turn into the rotting stench of bitterness and anger and negativity. It's either recycled by God or rotting inside you.
Last Sunday, my friend Alan was honored by our church for 45 years of working with the boys of the church. Can you imagine 45 years? Let's see, how old was I when he started? Anyway, later his wife told us why he had dedicated his life to being there for boys. Alan's dad apparently had one kind of relationship with his sons - work, and that was it! And Alan carried the hurt of having a Dad who just didn't take time with him. That hurt could have turned into stinking trash in Alan's heart. But he brought it to Jesus, and Jesus recycled that wound into something beautiful - a commitment to be there for his own sons and for other boys who didn't have the attention of a father.
Now, God's recycling miracle heals a wound from the past by using it to sensitize you to people with that same kind of wound. By God's grace, you commit your life to doing for others what wasn't done for you instead of repeating that mistake and scarring another generation. Because of what you've been through, you could become a bitter, self-centered, angry person or you could let Jesus recycle it into compassion. You're uniquely equipped to help heal people who have the same kind of wound you do. If you'll let the "Father of compassion, the God of all comfort" have the pain of your past.
I thought it was amazing that human engineers could make an airport out of garbage. But what's really amazing is what the Master Engineer can make out of the garbage of our lives - Jesus turns the bleeding into a blessing, the garbage into gold, and the hurter into a healer!