I have friends, maybe you’re one of them, who can look at an old dilapidated end table found at a flea market and envision what it would like in their house 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 think I find myself believing that God has that same outlook when He sees me.
But then, I think of Peter. (I’m so glad God chose to have his story put in Scripture for our perusal.) Peter was one of Jesus’ closest friends and just before Jesus went to his death Peter proclaimed to all the disciples that He would be 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, did Peter feel like he should be hauled out with the garbage? I’m sure he felt that there was nothing redeemable in His life.
But after the resurrection, Jesus comes to Peter, fixes him breakfast and asks Him not once but three times if Peter loves Him. From that moment on, Peter is different. He becomes a powerful spokesperson for the gospel of Jesus Christ and God uses him to turn hearts to Him. What Peter saw as junk in his life; his biggest failure was what God used to make him stronger, more determined and more driven 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! And there is no way I can envision anything good coming from it.
But just like God did with Peter, He sees my pile of junk envisions something beautiful and accepts the challenge of turning my mess into something truly spectacular. Look what Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “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 about God! He doesn’t just see our junk but remarkably 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, the mistakes, the regrets but God sees them and He 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 us!