Tuesday, April 16, 2002

I'm glad they didn't tell me until it was over. It was my first time landing at LaGuardia Airport in New York City - an airport whose runways jut right out into Jamaica Bay. When I arrived, my friends told me that I had just landed on the garbage of New York City. Now, that is a very exciting thought. It turns out that much of the airport was actually built on landfill - yes, it was made from Big Apple garbage. That's not bad for piles of trash.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A WORD WITH YOU today about "The Power of Recycled Garbage".

It's amazing what human engineers can do with the garbage of a city. It's much more amazing what God can do with garbage of our lives. He recycles the worst things that ever happened to us into something wonderfully useful - and even beautiful.

Some of that trash-to-treasure miracle is described in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, our word for today from the Word of God. God's talking here about some of the heartbreaking moments of our life. He is described here as "the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from Christ." In other words God says, "I'm going to give you My resources to help you get through your times of trouble - and, in so doing, I'm going to qualify you to spend the rest of your life helping other hurting people."

Recently, I received an e-mail from a woman I'll call Mary Ann. She told me about her deep regret over her premarital sexual relationships and how it hurt her now not to be able to give her husband love that no one else had ever had. We asked her if she would be willing to share her story on our youth broadcast, RealTime. She agreed - and she had some very powerful things to say, both about sexual purity and the forgiving, restoring power of Jesus Christ. And, when we finished the interview, she said, "You know, I think doing this has finally helped me be free inside . . . to really forgive myself and move on."

I told Mary Ann that she was completing the cycle of God's healing of our past. First, you experience God's forgiving love or His comfort and healing . . . and then, ultimately, you use the past you hate to help others, to comfort others, to challenge others, and to give hope to others. If you've been wounded, abused, abandoned . . . if you've experienced deep loss, grief, struggle, handicaps - you have those strange credentials that qualify you because of your pain, to be one of God's wounded healers; to be listened to because of what you've been through.

But for this recycling miracle to take place a person must be willing to take their eyes off themselves ... to look beyond their own hurt to the hurts of others. And you have to open up all those closets of anger and self-pity and doubt and let God's mercy and grace come flooding in. When you reach beyond yourself and open up to God's healing resources, you become uniquely prepared to become a healer in a hurting world.

And when you do, it's amazing the healing that releases in you. You're actually using the past you hate to help others. And you are allowing God to take the garbage of your life and recycle it into something beautiful - that's meaning for your pain and hope for someone else's despair.



Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)


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