Friday, July 25, 2008

Two counselors brought a young man into my camp office this morning. His face was a mixture of uncertainty and defiance as his summer counselors told me that he had something to say to me.

"I want to apologize for what I did to the plants." He said.

I had no idea what he was talking about so I sat down next to him and asked him what had happened. He gave an impassioned narrative of an altercation involving he and his brother and another camper. I asked him how the plant fit into the picture and he told me that he had gotten mad and pulled it out in his anger. In other words, it just got in the way.

I thanked him for his honesty and for telling me about what had happened, and one of his counselors asked if I would like for the young man to help me put the plant back in the ground. When the question was asked I wasn't expecting it for a number of reasons, but it sent my mind racing because it dawned on me what plant he was talking about and where it was located. I told them that I would take a look and let them know.

I didn't tell the young man that the plant he had ripped out was one that I have been intending to remove myself all summer but haven't yet gotten to it.

It was an instant object lesson for me -- how many times do we do something with the wrong motivation, things we wouldn't normally do if we were thinking clearly; actions that harm others or show a lack of respect. How often, I wonder, does God use what we have done to further His purposes in a unique way that we may never know about?

My point is not to equate myself with God but to offer to you that even if you have acted in haste or anger, possibly doing great damage to others (or yourself); God isn't done with you or the situation. He isn't limited to our human understanding. He can take the worst of circumstances, even sin that hurts Him deeply, and use it to further His kingdom. This doesn't excuse our behavior or our actions, but it should remind us that we aren't permanantly seperated from him because of rash decisions we make or actions we take.

Yes, these actions interfere with our relationship with Him but not because He won't forgive us or doesn't love us -- but because we can't forgive ourselves and are embarassed to go to him or let Him see us as we are. This is Adam and Eve in the garden all over again...He loves us unconditionally! Yes, we must deal with the consequences of our decisions, and they may be unpleasant. But the story isn't over and neither is His use or love for you!

If you are weighed down by guilt because of bad choices or inappropriate behavior remember that He wants to weed it out. He can see beyond your circumstances though we usually can't. He sees the potential beyond the sin and is capable of using our mistakes to further His kingdom.

Our mistakes don't stop His love or His work; we can ask Him to help us live so that they don't stop ours either. His forgiveness is there for the asking when we ask with a sincere heart!

Act in His love today,



At 8:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow Brad I want to thank you. You see a lesson in many situations that I dont think I would ever see. I want to thank you for your faith in the LORD and the inspiration you give me and many others. There are times when Im ready to give up but its people like you who inspire me to keep going.
Lots of love and gratitude from a sister in Christ

At 5:33 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I want to thank you for your wonderful inspiring story. I have been going through many tribulations in my life and often loose my closeness to God for long periods of time. The uprooted plant could be re-planted in better ground so that it may prosper. Maybe that is what I am going through. I need to be re-planted......
Searching Again..


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