by Joanie Butman
As I entered the hardware store last Monday, I passed a rudimentadry but accurate Easter reminder. I doubt it was intentional, but God can use anything to get His message of redemption across – even potty humor. My kids say I see God in everything, but even they might wonder how I could make a trip to the local hardware store a spiritual experience. Maybe it’s a stretch, but I immediately saw the correlation. Christ willingly enters into the cesspool of our lives and brings something beautiful out of it. He uses the manure of our troubles as rich fertilizer for His redemptive power. Who else can “take a mess and make it into a message, a test into a testimony, a trial into a triumph, and a victim into a victory?” I think that might be an amaryllis getting ready to bloom rather than an Easter lily, but same idea.
It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, what you have or haven’t done, Christ is looking for fertile ground to plant His presence. Personally, I always feel closest to God when my life is 'in the toilet' so to speak. The military has its own, cruder slang for that condition, used by ground combatants, that conveys: we are taking heavy fire, casualties in risk of being wiped out or overrun. Frequently heard in radio communications requesting assistance.* I think it’s safe to say that feeling needn’t be confined to the military. On the battleground of life, we often find ourselves in need of reinforcements and fall to our knees sending God our own battle cry.
Is there an area in your life where you feel under fire and overwhelmed? Remember Jesus’ words in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” It’s so true that the best defense is a good offense. The wisest choice I’ve ever made was to surrender to Jesus because “His power is made perfect in my weakness.” Better to make this choice before things go south, but more often than not, we wait until we’re one flush away from defeat before we admit we can’t do it alone. Regardless, it’s never too late to choose to embrace the rescue and renewal offered through Jesus.
Some may think my photo a crass analogy, but the dichotomy between the broken, grubby toilet and the pure loveliness of an emerging flower illustrates the beauty and miracle of grace. We live in an ugly, crude, sin-stained world. Yet Christ, in His Divine Glory, chose to walk among us and assume those iniquities on our behalf. He still chooses to walk beside us, often carrying us, through the muck of this world. When you try to sanitize the Easter story (which many are tempted to do) the power of its message gets diluted. No doubt about it, cleaning toilets is a dirty job – one that many consider beneath them. But that is exactly what Jesus does for us. That’s the miracle of Easter.
Life can rob you of many things: your health, your wealth, your sanity, your loved ones, your peace, your joy, your sense of humor, etc. Blessedly, it can never separate you from the love of Jesus Christ. He is the only constant. That truth alone allows me to see the beauty possible in any situation – even a mundane visit to the hardware store.