I have friends, maybe you’re one of them, who can look at an old dilapidated 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 the same old table, I see something that should’ve been hauled off to the dump a long time ago. I struggle to see beauty in junk. And I find myself believing God feels the same way about me.
Then, I remember Peter.
Peter was one of Jesus’ closest followers. Just hours before Jesus was captured and crucified, Peter rashly promised Jesus that he would go to the death for Him . . .
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)
It was only a few hours later when Peter denied ever even knowing Jesus, not once but three times! At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three time that you even know me.” And Peter left the courtyard weeping bitterly. Luke 22.61-62
Can you imagine how devastating this must have been for Peter? Was there anything worse than disowning Jesus? Did Peter feel like a piece of garbage? Trash to be thrown away?
Far from throwing Peter out, Jesus finds him and asks not once but three times if Peter loves Him. Something beautiful takes root in Peter’s heart . . .
From that moment on, Peter is a different man. 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 boldly share the Good News.
God took this broken man; his messy bits, his glaring failures, and shaped him into something jaw-droppingly beautiful!
When I look at my life, the messy bits, the poor choices, I see a huge mess. A pile of junk! I see no redeemable qualities whatsoever.
But God does the same thing with me as He did with Peter. He sees my messy piles and envisions something beautiful and accepts the challenge of turning my chaos and clutter into something truly breath-taking. 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! He doesn’t just see our junk but remarkably He uses it to make something beautiful! God sees the BIG PICTURE. We only see the here and now, the failures, the mistakes, the regrets but God uses all of it 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!