That none may be wasted.

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Hurrying to finish cutting a beautiful summer cantaloupe, I realized a major reorganization of my refrigerator shelf was going to be necessary. Emptying the shelf, I spotted a plastic bag stuffed into the wastelands of refrigeration, the back of the shelf. A few blueberries were bunched in the corner of the bag and from the outside I could see the tell-tale signs of spoilage.

My first reaction was to toss the bag in the trashcan, but the words  came so immediately and strongly that I stopped mid-action. “That none may be wasted.” Ok, was that an admonishment to not waste food? Or more? Opening the bag, I poured the few blueberries into my hand. Upon examination and to my surprise, less than half were bad; as I picked them from my hand, leaving the good berries, I understood the words.

The world is filled with good and evil. It’s not always apparent which is which, but often it is clear. And we wonder why God allows us to inhabit the same planet, subjecting his people to interaction with those who would inflict pain and suffering. It is also our tendency to judge the people who are doing the inflicting. Our hearts rebel against the command to forgive and to love.

I wouldn’t pretend to know the mind of God, but I do know from his Word that we are here to influence those around us, touching the "not-so-pleasant" for the Perfect One, to walk in the humility of Jesus, who forgave the worst in people. He was gentle in the face of hideous violence and vehement hatred. He was strong in his love for all men, knowing that any of us could become like him; forgiving and loving - even enemies. His humility and submission to his Father bought our freedom.

We cannot know in this lifetime the ultimate destination of those souls, the hearts of those who will yet come to him. Some will appear beyond salvaging, but they are never beyond his reach. Some will appear damaged, but they are never beyond his touch. Some will appear hopeless, but they are never beyond his love. Yet, some will never accept his loving grace; it’s simply not my place to say who that is. I believe his promise that for those who do - a strong, but gentle Savior awaits them.

“And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day.” 

John 6:39-40

It gave me great comfort as I examined those berries in my hand and removed the rotten ones. God is not unaware of the world he holds in his hand. His timing is perfect, his ways are perfect, and he looks lovingly on his creation even as it looks a mess to us. One day he will savor the coming home of each one of his children, made perfect in the image of his Son.

Rinsing the good berries in my hand, I slowly savored each one and thought what a happy time it will be for our heavenly Father when all his children are in his presence forever, the sweet harvest planned long ago, and his amazing love and grace for the here and now.

Have you wrestled with the question of why evil exists in the world? Do you blame God for your suffering? He doesn’t give us clear answers to our questions sometimes and that is when we need to trust His character most. He is loving, just, forgiving, and His Word is true. He is all-knowing, all-powerful, and has a plan for you.

Prayer: Lord, help me to love with humility this week. Help me to be in your likeness, as a witness and example of your great love.

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Kay Powell is a follower of Jesus and has been at the River for 13 years.  She has 3 adult children and 7 grands.  Kay is an avid observer of life who loves to express her creative and inquisitive self through writing and art. 

River Community Church