In California, recycling is just part of our culture. We have separate trash cans that the sanitation department provides for us to divide our recyclables from our other refuse. Sometimes, even when we don’t have the separate bins, the trash department separates our garbage for us. In elementary school, children learn the importance of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” We are well educated about the importance of taking something that had one purpose, and using it again to accomplish something else.
Scripture, however, is filled with a different type of recycling. Throughout God’s Word we see how our Lord uses what was intended for evil, in order to bring about His good. Joseph’s brothers thought they were punishing him; God used it to save nations. Moses’ mother thought she was losing her son; God used him to lead His people out of slavery. Job had everything taken from him, only to be given more. God doesn’t just use pain to teach us things, He recycles it for a greater purpose.
This doesn’t mean that the pain doesn’t hurt, that the trials aren’t hard, or that the sadness isn’t real. It does mean that we can trust that in His time, God is using those things to bring us to the experience of His goodness. He doesn’t waste anything that happens to us. He’s transforming it in His time for His purpose. It’s the ultimate example of reduce, reuse, recycle – He’s reducing our pain by protecting us and comforting us, He’s reusing our pain to teach us something about Himself, and He’s recycling it to bring about something good.
Just like we aren’t the only ones who benefit when we recycle our waste, our recycled trials often have a multiplied effect – bringing good not only in our lives but also in the lives of others. And if we are willing to let God use our trials in this way, we can rest in the confidence that from His eternal perspective, whatever temporary loss we experience, is worth it so that our trials can be redeemed by His plan.
Share your story…how has God recycled pain in your life?