Recycle, Reuse, Redeem

Glenda DuranoBy Glenda Durano5 Minutes

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ (Philippians 3:8).

As a green builder, my husband is a firm believer in recycling. He’ll use old plastic ice cream containers to hold nails, week-old newspapers to clean windows, and toilet paper rolls to keep electric cords untangled. If he can’t find a use for something, he’ll obediently separate it into paper, plastic, metal, and glass, and heaven forbid if he finds an empty green bean can in the bin next to the rinsed-out plastic milk cartons. (Yep, it’s my bad!)

God is a recycler, too. He wastes nothing.

Since God is the one who orders our steps (Proverbs 16:9), He is also the one who knows exactly what we will need to get through. He knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). One of God’s primary goals is to equip us so that we can be ready for the next adventure. Or disaster. Or ego-pumping success.

Sometimes when we see something on the horizon, we think, “God, I’m not ready for this.” But you are … because God would never call you to do something that you aren’t equipped for. Sometimes we may hear God calling our name to step into the unknown and we may think like Moses, “Who me? I can’t do this.” But we can.

This is not to say that we are equipped to do it on our own. Not at all. Equipment comes in many shapes and sizes. Being equipped doesn’t mean you are self-sufficient; it means you have the tools that you need when life throws you a curveball. Perhaps you have the office skills to get a new job or you have the compassion to care for a parent who has Alzheimer’s or you have the faith to know that God still loves you when your spouse says he or she no longer does. You may be equipped with a particular talent or knowledge — or you may be equipped with the faith to fully depend on God.

That being said, being equipped is different from being ready. We certainly weren’t ready for my husband to be out of work for nearly three years but we were equipped. We knew what God’s Word said about tithing and we knew that God is our provider and we knew that we had nothing to fear. A few months later, when we faced an even more difficult situation, we used what we had learned during my husband’s season of unemployment to meet our next challenge.

God is efficient. He never wastes a moment. He is faithful to recycle, reuse, and redeem every difficult experience. When we are in the midst of a trial, it’s tempting to ask God, “How can I get out of this mess?” A much better question would be, “What can I get out of this mess?”

In every test and every trial (whether He brings it or He simply allows it), God equips you for something later down the line. He could give you a tool for ministry, teach you to resist temptation, or provide you with perseverance. You may not know what He’s doing at the time, but ultimately, if you allow it, He will recycle, reuse, and redeem your situation. He will turn your mess into your message and your test into your testimony.

© Reprint Desperate for God by Glenda Durano, 2017