I started last fall and the project continues today. I’m going through every closet, both attics, and eventually every drawer and cabinet in the house, getting rid of everything we no longer want or need. We’ve accumulated a lot of “stuff.” Items that once seemed so needed and important are little more than clutter now. I keep thinking: “Why’d we buy all this? Did we really need all this stuff?
The other day, my frustration with our apparent waste turned into a realization: Hadn’t this “stuff” once served a useful purpose? Were not memories created, talents and hobbies explored, and needs met, all part of forming us into the people we are today?
- The half-used bottles of paint and boxes filled with all manner of art supplies were part of making our oldest daughter into the artist God created her to be.
- The cookbooks and kitchen gadgets were part of our other daughter’s expressing and developing her love of cooking.
- The sporting equipment had been used to develop a variety of skills in all three of our children.
- Without a doubt, the large box of old journals were part of God growing me into the woman I am today.
All of it was part of our becoming the people we are today.
This parallels a conversation I had with a longtime friend. We talked about our “stuff.” Not specific items, but the lump sum of it and the regret we fight because of it. The “could haves, should haves, wished I would and wished I wouldn’t haves.” I started thinking: What if God is using all our “stuff” to make us into the people He created us to be? What if we are no worse off, perhaps even better off, because we walked through it? What if we’re where we are and who we are today because of it? What if God is using all of it to do His good work in us?
Isn’t that the promise of Romans 8:28? “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
God — the One who can, the One who has the power and deep desire to work on our behalf —
causes all things — absolutely all of them, no exceptions — to work together for our good.
The Amplified Version puts it like this:
“We are assured of and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.”
The condition to the promise is clear. It’s for those who love God, those who are called and choosing to live for the purpose for which we were created: for His glory! (Isaiah 43:7).
God fights for His people; He always has and always will. He fights for your highest good and greatest blessing — both of which are expressed in Romans 8:29:
“For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son.”
If we let Him, God will use our “stuff” to make us more like Jesus. None of what we’ve done or experienced needs to be wasted. All of it can be used for our good. All of it can bring Him glory.
Think about it:
“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all — how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:31-32, 37)
In all your “stuff,” in all that invokes regret, practice Way #45 of 52 Ways to Glorify God:
Let go of the regret and trust God to work all things for your good.
Let me leave you with one more promise:
“The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it!” 1 Thessalonians 5:24