Sometimes life hands you trash. Do you get rid of it as soon as possible or try to make the best of it?
Not long ago, our printer died. We did our best to resurrect it, but . . . we failed. So, late one night we set it at the end of our driveway, hoping one of the trash collectors who scout the neighborhood would be happy to take it away for pieces or recycling or whatever.
When we looked out the window the next morning we hoped to see the printer gone. It wasn’t. Not only was the printer not gone, it had been joined by an abandoned chemical sprayer and a worn out, once motorized kids’ vehicle.
You mean someone saw our trash and decided to add their own junk to it? You’ve got to be kidding me! Who leaves cast off, unwanted garbage on a stranger’s lawn? What are we supposed to do with it?
I was annoyed.
The kids, however, took one look at that worn out car and were overjoyed. For real. I don’t remember how early in the morning it was, but they were out there, whooping and hollering, pushing each other up and down the street. It should have been battery operated. There was no battery. It was so well-used that multiple holes were worn all the way through the wheels. Seriously.
But the kids thought it was great. Still do. We still haven’t figured out how to get rid of the trash someone dumped in our yard, yet the kids are still making the best of it. Figuring out how to enjoy and make the most of what could really be considered garbage.
Somehow, that got me thinking about the things that get dropped into our lives that seem like garbage. What do you do when life hands you trash you don’t want to deal with?
A financial setback.
Unreasonable work requirements.
You name it. Any undesirable circumstance that unexpectedly lands in your life.
Events, both short and long term, happen all the time that make us say, “What am I supposed to do with this junk?”
There’s a man in the Old Testament who knew what it was like to have life hand Him trash – Job. Do you remember what he said?
“Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” Job 2:10
Not only did Job recognize that God was involved in His undesirable circumstances (and the tragic events in Job’s life went far beyond what most of us will ever face!), he was willing to accept them because He knew the goodness of God’s character.
Those situations and circumstances that we’d rather avoid, the trash life hands you – everything from a runaway dog to the death of a spouse. They aren’t good in and of themselves. They are tragic. They cause us grief and pain and heartache.
Those things look like trash. They feel like trash. They may even smell like trash. Yet God is still in control.
And if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness. For He does not afflict willingly or grieve the sons of men. To crush under His feet all the prisoners of the land, to deprive a man of justice in the presence of the Most High, to defraud a man in his lawsuit–Of these things the Lord does not approve. Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both good and ill go forth? Why should any living mortal, or any man, offer complaint in view of his sins? Let us examine and probe our ways, and let us return to the LORD. Lamentations 3:32-40
And God is still good and working all things out to accomplish good for His children.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
God also stays with us through the garbage-like circumstances to comfort and encourage us when we look to Him.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
So when life hands you trash, remember:
God is still in control.
God has a good plan, a purpose greater than you can see at the moment.
God has not forsaken you, so draw close to Him.
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:7-8
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