by Peggy Jo Stanley

Before the foundation of the earth God decided to create man in His own image. He gave man a precious gift called a free will. In doing so God knew the RISK involved because not all would choose good and right - some would abuse the gift. Yet knowing that should God keep the gift and never allow man to exercise his free will? Instead God reached down in love and mercy and knew that when man chooses evil instead of good, My grace will be sufficient to redeem and recycle - but the key is in man surrendering it and turning it over into God's hands, His nail-pierced hands. Does God sit on His heavenly throne and idly watch things, good and bad, happen and not have a purpose for them? Does He waste pain, tragedy, suffering, tears, or broken hearts? Or does God reach down from glory into the waste bins of our lives and redeems those "bad things," recycling them and using them for His glory and our ultimate good? Why is it that for some people the garbage never seems to be recycled? In order for garbage to be recycled it must be placed in a recycling bin - if not it ends up in a garbage dump. The key lies within me. So often I want to hide my scraps - bury them in the deepest, darkest pit - cover them with dirt. Other times I want to run from them. Most of the time I want God to make them disappear. God patiently waits with outstretched arms for the day when I gather up the scraps of my life and place them into His loving outstretched hands. Then and only then can they be recycled. This recycling process may be very painful, but someday I will see "that the sufferings of this present time is not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us." (Rom. 8:18) God, the Sculptor of the universe, can take the stumbling blocks thrown in my path to trip me up and block my progress, and chisel them down into stepping stones. As I step may I reach down and lend a helping hand to my neighbor as we travel along on this road of life, this road of recovery.