Image via WikipediaI live with a bunch of "foodies". If you are unfamiliar with the term, a "foodie" is defined as "someone who has an ardent or refined interest in food."
In the past, one might have used the word epicurean or gourmet instead of the more trendy "foodie" of today. A foodie not only likes food, likes to eat food, but is sincerely interested in food and wants to learn about food. Living with some serious foodies, I have been exposed to more than my share of cooking shows in my lifetime.
I remember on one of these shows, the chef prided himself on wasting nothing. Everything was utilized, even scraps of vegetables and bones were saved for the stock pot. Frugality was the watchword of his kitchen. Much the same can be said for God. While He does not determine all that happens in our lives -- because clearly there is still sin in this world and man has a clear choice whether to sin or to follow God -- He does take advantage of each situation, so if we trust Him, nothing is wasted. As the Scriptures tell us, "we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose," (Romans 8:28).
I was initially prompted to think along these lines the other day by fear. There is a particular fear to which I have been tempted for some time now. I believe with all my heart that if this one thing were to befall me, I would have all the peace and joy and comfort that the Lord of Heaven and earth wants to and does bestow lovingly upon His children. However, the tempter still places the temptation to fear in front of me. As I was thinking about this issue, I thought back on my life with a singular comforting realization.
There has been nothing that has occurred to me that seemed bad at the time that the Lord did not use for some great good in my life. He has not wasted any opportunity to teach, to chasten, to correct, to lead, to provide, to direct or to conform me to the image of His dear Son. Everything is utilized, even what appears to be rubbish, is saved "for the stock pot".
Realizing this about the past created a great sense of confidence and freedom about the future. Indeed, as we turn and look back at the path our lives have been traveled upon, it is often only then we can so clearly see the Lord's leading and directing, His taking advantage of those bad choices of others, and the bad choices we have made as well, working everything together for our own good. If He has provided for us and taken care of us this far, we can have sure confidence that "He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ," (Philippians 1:6).