Recently I was listening to a talk radio show that made me think of that. The host was interviewing Chuck Colson, who recounted how God took the worst, most painful situation imaginable in his life and used it to initiate an international ministry that has blessed thousands of people. God recycled Chuck Colson’s pain, and God is being glorified!
Thinking about that, I remembered Peter, because something similar happened to him. This bold, self-confident disciple assured Jesus that he would NEVER deny Him, but we all know the end of the story….wait… was it really the end of the story? Or was it just a step in the recycling process? In that chilly, dark courtyard, Peter denied even knowing his Lord three times, just as Jesus predicted a few hours earlier. “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He said to him ‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.’ So Peter went out and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:61,62) End of the story? No!
God recycled the sting of Peter’s bitter tears. The recycling process continued, and thirty-some years later, led by God’s Holy Spirit, Peter penned words of serious warning: “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith.” (1st Peter 5:8,9) Because Peter was NOT sober and vigilant on that night many years earlier that would change history, he fell prey to the adversary. Through that, he learned how to avoid the roaring lion’s trap. God, who wastes nothing, used that painful event in Peter’s life to bless millions to Christ followers, even to this very day!
Yes, God recycles pain. Chuck Colson’s pain. Peter’s pain. My pain and your pain. Those situations we can’t seem to understand; those times of pain and loss when nothing makes sense; the bitter tears we shed…God can – and will – recycle that pain to bless others, and He will be glorified in our life. Yes, God recycles pain!