In Rob Bell’s most recent book, Drops Like Stars, he has a picture of a plaque that is in his counselor’s office.
The God Who Wastes Nothing
I’ve struggled with that concept for weeks months now. How could God put me here in this job, in this place and it not be wasteful? What about all the time (and dollars) spent on graduate school that did not end in a PhD? How is that not a waste? What about my supposed “talent” and skills? Am I wasting time staying where I am? How does this all fit into His plan? Does He even have a plan anymore? Is it just chaos at this point?
It’s hard not to feel this way when things aren’t “going to plan.” I like to see everything laid out with every step leading to the next step, every piece fitting nicely by the preceding piece. Every event of life needs to be ordained and preplanned, and most importantly, approved by yours truly.
Dismayed as I may be at the thought, but that’s not how life works.
And for good reason. How can we trust God if we know how everything is going to work out? How do we experience joy if we have not also experienced heartbreak? If everything is planned out, how much excitement can I really have? How can we know that we’ll get through every challenge if we haven’t gone through some challenges before? How can we have faith if there’s no reason to believe in Him?
What I need to trust is that everything is ordained by God.
The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his step. (Proverbs 16:9)
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesian 2:10)
And things will happen. Suffering is part of life. Challenges draw us closer to Him.
…but to the degree that you share in the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the relvelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. (1 Peter 4:13)
The Lord has a plan and purpose for everything. Elisabeth Elliot recalls this point often in her book,
“Faith need never ask, ‘But what good did this do me?’ Faith already knows that everything that happens fits into a pattern for good to those who love God.”
Romans 8:28, a beloved verse by many, reiterates this point,
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.
It’s pretty simple. All things means all things. The good and the bad. What seemed to be for one purpose might be for a larger purpose, yet. Our limited perspective hampers our ability to truly understand the great picture that He is painting with our lives. How it all works together is something that we see only in retrospect. When we’re in the moment, we have to cling desperately to the promises. Because, most of all, God is faithful:
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6)
Truly, the God who wastes nothing.