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I have friends who can look at an old dilapidated end table at a flea market and envision what it would like with a little tender loving care. But when I look at that same old table, I tend to see something that really should’ve been hauled off to the dump a long time ago. I struggle to see the beauty in junk. And I can’t help but wonder if that is the way that God sees me – just a piece of junk.
But then, I think of Peter.
Peter was one of Jesus’ closest friends. Just before Jesus died Peter proclaimed to all the disciples that He would go with Jesus to the death.
“Simon Peter asked, ‘Lord, where are you going?’
And Jesus replied, ‘You can’t go with me now, but you will follow me later.’
‘But why can’t I come now, Lord?’ he asked. ‘I’m ready to die for you.’” (John 13:36-37, NLV)
Then just hours later, Peter denied Jesus, not once but three times! How devastated Peter must have felt! Was there anything worse than disowning Jesus?
I wonder if Peter felt like he should be hauled out with the garbage? I’m sure he felt that there was nothing redeemable in him. But after the resurrection, Jesus went to Peter, fixed him breakfast and asked Him not once but three times if Peter loved Him. And from that moment on, Peter is different.
Peter becomes a powerful spokesperson for the gospel of Jesus Christ and God uses him in mighty ways. What Peter saw as junk in his life – his biggest failure – was what God used to make him stronger, more determined to follow Jesus and proclaim the Good News to the world.
God took Peter’s junk and turned it into treasure.
When I look at my life, the mistakes, the poor choices, the failures and the damage I’ve caused in my own life and in others, I see a huge mess, a pile of junk! There is no way I can envision anything good coming from it. I see nothing redeemable in me.
But just like God did with Peter, He sees something beautiful in my pile of junk and accepts the challenge of turning my mess into something He can use. Look at what Ecclesiastes 3:11 says in the New Living Translation, “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”
Isn’t that amazing? God sees our junk and He uses it to make something beautiful! We, as finite beings, cannot see the whole scope of God’s plan. We only see the here and now, the failures, mistakes, and regrets but God uses them to accomplish His great plan for us.
Look at what God does in nature: He changes an unsightly caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly and an ugly duckling into a magnificent swan. If He can do that to a caterpillar or an ugly duckling, think what He can do with you!
Father, When I think of the junk in my life it’s so tempting to want to hide from You. Remind me that You see it all anyway and that the best thing I can do is come to you quickly, confess and repent and let You work freely in my life. May I be quick to come to You and eager to believe that You see beauty in me, even in my messy places. Amen
Question: What makes it hard to believe that God can redeem our messes?