(This reflection was written in 2009.)
A few days ago, my husband and my grandson went grocery shopping. One of their favorite stops is the “day old” cart by the bakery. The grandson spied an individually wrapped cornbread loaf. He had to have it and grandpa obliged. The problem was that by the time they got to the car the bread had been pulverized in its wrapper. Abandoned as inedible, the crumby remains sat seemingly unwanted on the kitchen counter for a couple days.
Fast forward a few days, my wonderful husband and cook made a pot of venison chili. On a whim I packed the crumby remains to eat for lunch with my chili. When it came time for lunch I opened the wrapper and dumped the crumbs into my chili. As I ate, I think I might have purred, it was just that good.
I had come very close on a couple occasions to throwing out the crumby mess. What was I going to do with them? They no longer appeared to have any purpose. They didn’t look good. I imagined that their inability to seemingly live up to their original intended use made them useless. Now isn’t that just the way we think?
How many people have we almost thrown away because they no longer appear to be living up to their purpose? How many lives wait desperately to be reclaimed and restored but experience none because their lives are messy?
A few years ago I interviewed for a position with a local ministry. One of the board members conducting the interview, who was aware of the “messiness” of my own life, asked if I had been restored. It was a tough question to answer then. It still is. I know I’ve been redeemed—that was God’s work. The rest, well, it may take more time. But it will be as sweet as the cornbread in my chili.