When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. John 6:12-13 (NIV)
I love the way our Lord wastes nothing. He takes our brokenness and pain and makes beauty out of our ashes – miraculously – over and over again. Often - way more often than not - we cannot begin to fathom how He can make anything beautiful from our “stinking” circumstances. Yet, over and over again, He does. He is the Master at making beauty from our ashes. As we trust and relinquish control (which is really no control at all) – placing all that we love dearly in His all-powerful Hands, He transforms the dire and dreaded with the fragrance of Himself – bestowing the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. He Hilmself is our peace and He always has our best interest at heart even in the most trying and difficult of circumstances. God wants us to be like Jesus who was to be the firstborn among many brothers. We can trust Him with our lives and with the lives of all we hold dear.
All too often we kick and scream against God’s best for us, Amen? But what we often neglect is the Truth that the pathway to blessedness is through the cross of Christ. It is in the denial of self that we take hold of life that is truly life. What He is working on in the wait and in the pain is far greater than we can imagine and remember He wastes nothing. I am always reminded of John Newton’s quote on the will when I am writing on things not of my choosing: “We judge things by their present appearance; but the Lord sees them in their consequences. If we could do the same we would be perfectly of His mind; but since we can’t, it is an unspeakable mercy that He will manage for us, whether we are pleased with His management or not; and it is regarded as one of His heaviest judgments when He gives any person up to the way of their own hearts, and to walk according to their own wisdom.”
The world is not as it should be – not due to Him but due to our own poor choices. Yet it will not always be that way. Jesus did not come to make earth into heaven rather He came to prepare us for heaven and He uses all things allowed towards this great end.
To proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.** Isaiah 61:2-3 (NIV)**