The moment I spotted the new 8th grader walking into his classroom at Timothy Lutheran School in Chicago, I understood the social predicament he would soon face. When I had entered Timothy as a 4th grader, I encountered a ‘select’ group of students whose criteria for acceptance was quite simplistic and biased- if you weren’t a Timothy original, having started as a kindergartner, you need not apply. Needless to say, this created an enormous chip on my shoulder. Yet when I met Charles, I reached out in friendship, no questions asked. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, the hurt and pain that I thought was useless and took very personally created an empathetic spirit in my heart. Nothing is wasted.
When you hear someone say they have been blessed by the Lord, what do you automatically assume they mean? Author Ron Carpenter Jr. (The Necessity of an Enemy) notes that people use the term “blessed” to connote a state of goodness in one’s life. Consider, however, the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:4- “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Jesus’ words run counter to our human nature because we view our adversity from a human perspective. Viewed from God’s perspective, our pain and sorrow are a call to action, an opportunity to draw closer to God and to be blessed in incredible ways, sharing those blessings in ministry to others. Nothing is wasted.
St. Paul encourages us in Philippians 4: 5-7: “The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Note the beautiful phrasing of Jason Gray in the following song: “But what if every tear you cry will seed the ground where joy will grow.” Nothing is wasted.