Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Treasure in the trash

God has a way of showing up in the most unlikely of places. Take, for instance, the trash. Specifically, in this case, the recycling bin.
This "God meets recycling container" encounter happened on an ordinary, drizzly trash collection day. After the garbage truck made its rounds through my neighborhood, leaving behind overturned trash cans and stray pieces of debris, I made my way to the curb to do my duty and collect my reciprocal containers. The cans stunk as they always do on rainy trash days. The leftovers of a week's worth's of soggy trash is never appealing. With my nose plugged I said silent "thank yous" to the garbage men as I dragged the cans back down the driveway.
I made it all the way to the garage door before I peered into the cans. I assumed they were empty but out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of something white in the bottom of the blue recycling bin. Soaking wet and stuck to the bottom of the container was a familiar white envelope - familiar because it had my hand writing on it. Despite the odor, I moved my face closer to the opening of the container in an attempt to make out the words I'd written. "This is all about your Heavenly Father and who He is." The sentiment was as true soaking wet and stuck to the trash can as it was the day I'd penned the words in the comfort of my bedroom. This - my whole life, the whole world - was and is about God. He is the purpose. He is the reason. It's all about Him.
But it wasn't the message on the envelope, true as it is, that amazed me most of all. It was how God preserved the envelope, and His truth, through the wind and the rain. God protected His truth from the ultimate fate of the landfill. Besides that one paper the can was empty. No other stray garbage had fallen along the pavement in the wake of the garbage truck. Just that one soggy, sloppy paper remained. One precious paper penned with God's ultimate purpose.
The survivor at the bottom of the recycling bin was such a precious picture of God's power to preserve and endure that I quickly forget about the stench of garbage. In that moment the recycling can was no longer a reciprocal for trash. It was a protector of treasure. I reached into the can and extracted the stray envelope, God's gift reminding me that even in the trash, truth remains.
Whether it is in trash cans flipped over on the side of the curb or in life's smelly, stinky circumstances that look and appear more like trash than a treasure, God's truth remains. His ultimate purpose of life cannot be thwarted. This - my whole life and yours - is about God and bringing Him glory. That truth never changes. It endures every obstacle, storm and trip to the trash. It is the ultimate truth and nothing in the world can change it, overcome it or send it to the landfill.
God, His purposes and His truth, have and always will survive - even in the trash.

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