"When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, 'Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.'" John 6:12 (NIV)
Sparkles from the scalloped, green glass bottle sitting in the window fill my mind with memories of my grandmother. She was the original owner of the bottle, and once it contained sweet perfume.
The bottle was once stored in Grandma's basement, where I'd go on treasure hunts as a little girl. Shelves in a dimly lit room held mysteries like my grandfather's fossil collection and my grandmother's collection of Avon perfume bottles, of which my precious green bottle was one. There were tall bottles and short ones. There were shiny glass bottles and heavy ceramic jars. My favorite one was covered with elegant ladies in 18th century voluminous dresses.
Each bottle was unique. Many were in perfect condition, but a few were chipped and worn. I can envision Grandma pouring over her catalogs choosing each bottle with time and care. Her collection carries scents and memories of people and places, some sweet and others bitter.
Those bottles are like the circumstances of my life. Some are happy, but sadness infuses others. A few have left me with scars, but lots have left me better than before. Just like the bottles, the collection of events in my life is more beautiful when viewed together than individually.
It comforts me that God doesn't waste anything. Every piece - broken, incomplete or whole - in the collections of our lives is made beautiful and significant in His hands.
Just think about the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 hungry people in John 6. The people had followed Jesus out of town to listen to His teaching and watch Him heal. They were all still gathered as mealtime approached. The disciples asked Jesus how He planned to feed the crowd, and Jesus miraculously produced enough food for the crowd from a boy's small lunch of five loaves and two fishes.
Once everyone was fed, it seemed the story would end, but Jesus had one more lesson to teach. He instructed the disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted" (John 6:12b NIV). It wasn't enough for Jesus to feed the people until they were full. He wanted every last crumb collected.
There's nothing that escapes the notice of God. Everything matters to Him. Not only does it matter, but if you are His child, He promises that every part of your life will be used for your good and His glory.
Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (NIV). This verse tells us that God uses our grief, our joy, our loss, our gain, our trials and our triumphs. Nothing is wasted.
Today may hold hard things—a sick child, a grouchy boss, an unforgiving friend. Or it may hold beautiful things—a new love, a chat with a neighbor, an affectionate pet. Either way, we can trust God that He is collecting the pieces of our life in His hand and creating something more beautiful than we can imagine.
Dear Lord, I trust You with every circumstance and moment of my life. Help me to see glimpses of how You are making my life beautiful for You. I trust that You don't waste anything, but You use everything. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Related Resources: We would love to join you as you grab a cup of coffee and curl up in your favorite spot to find hope and purpose within the pages of Scripture. The NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women, featuring devotions from our Proverbs 31 Ministries' writers, unpacks verses with you.
Reflect and Respond: List some of the hard circumstances in which you've yet to see God's redemptive work. Pray and release them into God's hands. Ask Him to help you entrust them to Him.
Power Verses: Psalm 36:5, "Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies." (NIV)
Psalm 78:35, "They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer." (NIV)
© 2013 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org