Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Jesus Was Green Before Green Was Cool

Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
~ Romans 5:3-5, NET ~

Are you a fan of HGTV like I am?  Oh, how I can get lost for HOURS in watching the experts transform homes and gardens with inspiring remodeling projects.  It's AMAZING!  The creativity just OOZES from the television as I see them repurpose junk to resurrect ugly rooms and outdoor spaces into something glorious, fresh, and peaceful. 

Of course, recycling or "repurposing" has become the new "in" thing to do.  It is considered "green" to take an old pair of shutters and turn them into a photo display, a privacy screen, or yard art.  Bamboo flooring is considered much more sustainable than the nasty synthetic materials we have come to use in modern times.  Saving the environment through turning trash into treasure is viewed as the most responsible and wise approach to home living.

It occurred to me recently, that Jesus was the cool kid on the block with this green approach long before HGTV ever popularized it.  After all, there is nothing new under the sun! (See Ecclesiastes 1:9)  Our God has LONG been in the business of recycling, redeeming, and repurposing junk, only He does it with our suffering.  He uses it for our good and His glory.  One of the things that I find so enamoring about Jesus is that He is the only Savior who can take our life's ugly and reuse it for something amazingly beautiful.  

I could tell story after story about how God has used awful things in my life to create something incredibly unexpected.  Without my son's hemophilia, I never would have seen God's activity in healing a relentless bleeding episode; I never would have met some AMAZING, caring, funny people; I never would have grown in selflessness, compassion and generosity;  I would have never seen God up-end my anxiety and completely remove it.  Without my husband's job trials, we never would have seen so many people in distress be blessed through food removed from store shelves that we had the privilege of passing on, or clearly seen God's inexplicable, constant provision.  Without my youngest's continued social, behavioral, and medical challenges, I never would have learned to work as a team with the schools and the doctors. So many of our trials have seem crushing at first blow, but then we see A lead to B, and B lead to C, and so on.  It has woven a story that makes HGTV pail in comparison!

None of us like to believe that our suffering is vain.  We want to know that our challenges were worth it.  This goes back to the earliest of days in human history.  Even Asaph wrote in Psalm 73:

Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
    and have washed my hands in innocence.
(Psalm 73:13, NIV)

Later the psalmist comes to realize that his suffering is NOT in vain.  God sees it all and gives it worth.  Through trials God grows our character.  He lengthens our endurance and perseverance.  There are no short cuts to those things.  They are only produced through the fire of pressure, angst, and heavy burdens.

Just as antiques only become valuable by aging over time, fakes become obvious in our personal character.  What Jesus creates in us is unmistakable.  It is only produced through that long-suffering process  of being remade by Him through each life challenge.

Sure, our lives may not go through the stunning remake that we see in 30-60 minutes on our favorite home shows, but Jesus is the Expert above all experts.  His work is flawless and breathtaking.  It is worth it to hang in there and watch how he creates beauty from ashes in ways we never could have fathomed.  Take heart, my friend!  Your suffering is worth more than you can imagine.  He is remaking something beautiful in you!

PRAY:  Jesus, You are the ultimate in green!  And I thank You that You can repurpose my pain for something more beautiful than I ever could have imagined.  Holy Spirit, strengthen me in perseverance as You shape my character.  Keep me solid in hope because You won't disappoint.

~ Barb Dittrich

2 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, I LOVE this! I only watch HGTV when I'm with my mom, and she was just here so it's really fun to read this and appreciate it in the repurposing and recycling line of thought. :)

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Tammie! Hope this comes to mind next time you're watching your favorite home improvements show.

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