Man's Trash, God's Treasure
I believe I have experienced the exhilaration of a man with a new power tool. I now own a Vitamix. This machine is amazing! Mesmerized by its myriad of miracle-working culinary powers, I set out to actually make soup in a blender. My foray into homemade honey-nut peanut butter was a smashing success, so I was feeling pretty good about stretching beyond simple smoothies.
Mouth watering from the picture, I scheduled the soup in my weekly menu and integrated its ingredients into my shopping list. The appointed day arrived! Salivating at the thought of a warm bowl of comfort, I precooked ingredients during the day, making sure everything was just right for the great debut that evening.
It was time.
Ingredients layered in the container in the exact order prescribed, I flipped the power and slowly turned the dial to turbo. Engines full blast, the blender died. Silence. Unplug, plug. Nothing. Reset the outlet. Nothing. Look for a secret kill switch on the machine. Nothing. Wind knocked from my sails, I would not give up. Half-blended ingredients safely preserved in the refrigerator, I would return the Vitamix for a new one and make a second attempt the next day. It was a frozen pizza night.
Turns out, the blown out blender just needed a little rest. Morning smoothies went off without a glitch. I was back in the blending business! Paring down portions and adding extra liquid, my second attempt was headed in the right direction. Dumping each batch into my family-sized stock pot, my excitement waned. I couldn’t recall any restaurant potato soup with such a sticky consistency. Was the texture supposed to be like paste? On second thought, maybe I shouldn’t have modified the amount of spinach. Perhaps the reason it called for only a few spinach leaves blended a mere two to three seconds was to avoid the glow in the dark green goo brewing on my cook top.
The soup was a total failure! The appearance, texture, and flavor were awful. I was devastated. Wind once again knocked from my sails and hormonal to boot, I approached my sweet husband soaking in the hot tub at the end of a hard day, visions of delicious soup dancing in his head.
“Want to go on a date?” I hinted, plopping myself into a lawn chair on the back deck.
“Why? I thought you were making soup.”
With all the drama I could muster, I explained the federal disaster area just inside the back door. He agreed the local Mexican restaurant sounded pretty appealing. Walking through the kitchen on his way to shower, curiosity got the best of him.
Peering into the mysterious green mixture, he inquired, “What’s in it?” Listing the ingredients, I invited him to taste it. It took several spoonfuls, a few swishes, and some thought, but he decided it wouldn’t be too bad. We’d just stay home and eat the soup with the thawing hand-made empanadas from our missionary friends in Argentina.
Mustering my resolve, I carefully attempted to extract the empanadas from their Ziplock. The dough, now more like glue, clung to the plastic like a child who doesn’t want to be left in the church nursery, and four of the twelve folded meat pastries lay dying on the cookie sheet. The rest were wadded up in the trash.
I was beyond caring. I threw the salvaged quartet in the oven and waited. When everything was ready, James surveyed his fare and gently commented, “Do you think it’s too late to go to the Mexican restaurant?”
Dinner was completely unsalvageable. A total write off.
Sitting in my office later that night, eating a smorgasbord of leftovers, I found myself feeling grateful. I once felt like that meal – unsalvageable. Unpalatable. Ugly in every way. Some days I still feel like that (especially the hormonal ones)!
I’m so thankful God didn’t and still doesn’t toss me to the side and write me off. No matter how wrong things go, God can salvage anyone and anything. Not only can He salvage, He can restore.
Want proof? Pick up the Bible. Start in Genesis and read through thousands of years of documented history of a perfect God who redeems His imperfect people, starting with Adam and Eve. Some of the people and events are worthy of their own reality television show!
Are you feeling unsalvageable? Don’t trust your feelings. Trust God. Trust the truth of His word. Make the words of these verses from Psalm 31 your own:
In You, O LORD, I put my trust; let me never be ashamed; deliver me in Your righteousness (verse one).
For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for Your name's sake, lead me and guide me (verse three).
Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O LORD God of truth (verse five).
I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy, for You have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities, and have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a wide place (verses seven and eight).
As for me, I trust in You, O LORD; I say, "You are my God" (verse fourteen).
Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You In the presence of the sons of men. You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues (verses nineteen and twenty)!
Blessed be the LORD, for He has shown me His marvelous kindness in a strong city (verse twenty-one)!
Oh, love the LORD, all you His saints! For the LORD preserves the faithful, and fully repays the proud person (verse twenty-three).
Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD (verse twenty-four).
God is in the business of repurposing the trash of our lives into something worth praising Him! Let us do so today!
Thank You, Lord, for salvaging us! Thank You for taking what was helpless and hopeless, and through Your Son Jesus, redeeming us. For the person reading this who feels like they are the one person who truly cannot be saved, or who looks at their circumstances and sincerely can’t see how things could ever get better, speak Your truth to their heart. May we be of good courage as You strengthen our hearts. We put our hope in You as we become more wholly Yours today!