No Waste

flaming grillMy plans of BBQ ribs on Memorial Day went up in smoke—almost. It would be more accurate to say they went up in flames. Hindsight tells me that the ribs I bought were too fatty, that I should have baked them longer, that maybe I should have tried parboiling them. My husband was truly gallant (or maybe just hungry), but he ate two or three chunks before he offered our kids and their out-of-town friend a meal at Applebee’s, recognizing that not everyone enjoys blackened food. He insists they were great, but he has always been a fan of burned food (one of the reasons for our long-lasting marriage).

I was determined not to waste those ribs, so the next day I removed most of the burned portions and put them in a crockpot, making BBQ pulled pork sandwiches. Though still a little fatty (some things you just can’t change), I managed to salvage a meal out of what appeared to be inedible at first glance. I always call “leftovers” an “effective utilization of resources,” and I think that God is also an effective utilizer of resources, even when something appears not to be salvageable.

Someone I love and admire disappointed me with the choices he/she made and the resulting negative consequences. I look at that mess, and I say, “I don’t see how anything good can come out of this.” That’s because I’m not looking at it like I viewed those flambéed ribs. God sees our lives, complete with all our imperfections and bad choices, and says, “OK. Time to pull out the crockpot, let that simmer a while, and make something new out it.”

Just as I was determined not to waste the money I spent buying two whole racks of ribs, so the Father, Son, and Spirit are determined that nothing in our lives is wasted and that all is ultimately used to reveal how deeply and profoundly we are loved. In fact, everything has been purposed to be unified in Christ:

he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ (Ephesians 1:9-10, NIV)

Does that mean that believers don’t suffer or make poor choices? Unfortunately not. But the verses from Ephesians tell us that our stories, with their good news and bad news, will all be unified and made sense of in Christ. No experience or relationship is ever wasted, but all is used to bring us closer to understanding who we are and why we’re so treasured by God. Even when we can’t see how something can be repurposed, retold, and unified in Christ, we know that God is desiring that all people should know the truth that they are accepted and loved (II Peter 3:9, NIV).

Though my Memorial Day barbeque was a fiasco, Applebee’s saved the day (as far as my kids were concerned), and I learned how not to prepare ribs. Even more importantly, I was confident that I could still do something with them, despite what they looked like. God looks at our lives, our mistakes and is confident that despite what they look like, nothing will be wasted, and all can be simmered into the perfection of knowing more fully our value as dearly loved children of the Divine.

~by Nan Kuhlman

2 comments so far

  1. tjbrassell on

    Love it!! I experienced the hope of the Gospel in reading this and I am yet amazed at the endless Creativity, in Personal Love, of God, Father, Son and Spirit! I’ve only recently learned to grill BBQ ribs and can identify with the challenges faced in trying to do so! 🙂 Thanks Nan!

  2. Pat on

    Nan,I so much appreciated your analogy of the “crock pot”!! I related it to “time” or as I like to call it “extensive research”.I know today,that it takes it all to bring us to the place we ARE heading,home!
    Richard Rohr puts it all in perspective for me in that “Everything Belongs” and “Falling Upward” or as I’ve heard before “it takes what it takes!”
    I don’t do ribs but meatloaf has its challenges!!!!! Thank’s Pat

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