A mother’s precious baby dies after two weeks of life. A 40-year-old man has a stroke and loses muscle control over the left side of his body. The rain does not come, so the farmer’s crops fail. A boy listens to his parents arguing and feels like his world is about to implode. A woman is robbed at gunpoint while walking to her car after work. A 30-year-old pastor is put in prison and brutally beaten for talking about Jesus Christ.
The world is littered with suffering like the garbage dump is littered with trash.
We cannot deny it. The most natural thing to do when experiencing hard times is to feel discouraged and doubt that the Maker is still in control. After all, if the Maker loved me, he wouldn’t allow suffering, right? Let’s find the truth on this hard subject. The Maker doesn’t promise to keep us from suffering. He promises many other things though, like a future and a hope. The Bible teaches that the Maker is our refuge in times of storm. If we put our hope in the Maker, he will never leave us nor forsake us. Even if the suffering continues.
I have found that the Maker walks with me in hard times, so I am never alone. I am never hopeless, no matter how I feel.
Put your hope in the Maker.
Job 4:5But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged;it strikes you, and you are dismayed.(NIV)
Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (NIV)
Psalm 43:5 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and may God. (NIV)
After Crow’s attack, Monday was very angry. He railed at the Maker about the injustice of the assault. Overwhelmed with discouragement, Monday declared, “It isn’t fair. It is… it is…just wrong.” Then the healing pain began. (Chapter 10)
What circumstances make you feel discouraged?
How can you find hope in the middle of a hopeless situation?
Does God understand when you have doubts?
Has there been a time when God reached out to you in your despair?
The Alaska State Fair is not huge compared to other state fairs, I’ll admit it, but it still feels big. But for a three-year-old girl, staring at the legs of hundreds of people as they stream around her, it is a daunting universe of twisting paths. Have you ever been lost? Do you remember being scared? You didn’t know what to do, where to go.
Thankfully, she is not alone. Her hand is tucked into the large hand of her daddy. She doesn’t worry about all the shops, trails, people, and animals. Why? Her daddy has a map and a plan. He guides her to the 1,469 pound pumpkin that is taller than she is. As she reaches over the ‘do not touch’ sign and touches the smooth, orange surface she giggles and says, “Daddy, it’s amazing!”
The Maker is our heavenly father. He has a map and a plan!
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (NIV)
In Chapter 10 the Maker spoke these words of compassion to Monday, “I know you don’t understand. The second making is about the plan. I have a plan that will slowly make you into something very exciting. It is so good, so amazing that I am excited for you to get there. And… without pain…you can’t get there.” Later the Maker reminded the confused egg, “The plan is good, Monday. The plan is good.” Think about a time when you wondered where your life was going.
Where did you look for answers?
How does it make you feel to know God has a plan for your life?
How can we know God’s plan is good?
What will you do if God’s plan for your life leads in a direction you did not expect to go?
A man stumbled out of the desert. His clothes hung in tatters, revealing skin burnt and blistered from the hot sun. He could barely see because of the harsh light bouncing off endless sand dunes. With his last remaining strength, he crawled to a pool of water with a few green bushes around it. Water. He had found water. He could hardly believe it. Maybe he wouldn’t die after all. He crawled into the water and drank.
Will this man live? That depends on one important thing. Is the water good or not? Pure water will save him. Tainted, bracken water will kill him. This is how I think about the question, Is the Maker good? If the Maker is good, then we are saved. If the Maker is not good, then we are lost in the desert without help. Thankfully, the Maker clearly shows his character in the Bible. What we read in the Bible demonstrates that the Maker is good, so we can be saved from the wilderness.
Psalm 145:9 The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.(NIV)
Psalm 106:1 Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good: his love endures forever. (NIV)
When Monday was honest with himself, he knew the Maker was good even if his circumstances seemed to contradict it. Monday felt certain. (Chapter 21)
Has despair ever caused you to doubt God is good?
How has God reminded you that He is good?
Where have you seen evidence of His goodness?
How did you feel when you realized the Maker is good?
In what ways did this understanding change your outlook on your circumstances?
One day, the blacksmith decided he would make the Chisel. He heated the metal in his furnace until it glowed bright white. With tongs he pulled the Chisel from the fire and struck it with his hammer, making it flat. Then he heated the Chisel again. This time, he folded the metal back on itself before he beat it again with ringing blows. Again into the fire. When he brought it out, he picked up a smaller hammer and shaped the Chisel. The Tang. The neck. The blade. The bevel. Soon it looked right. He heated it again and dipped it in warm oil. The sizzling sound of the quenching filled the blacksmith’s workshop.
The blacksmith set the Chisel down on a table next to the Grinder and went to another part of his workshop to shape a handle for the Chisel.
“He is making me into a fine chisel,” said the Chisel to the Grinder.
The Grinder looked down at the Chisel. “You might be beautiful once I am done with you.”
“What do you mean?” The Chisel asked. “Can’t you see me? The blacksmith has formed all my parts. Don’t you think my blade is long?”
“You’re rough and crude and unfinished,” said the Grinder. “But don’t worry. I will fix you. Then you might be right.”
The Chisel did not agree at all.
Late in the afternoon, the blacksmith returned to fit a long wooden handle to the Chisel’s tang. The wood was smooth, richly browned by oil and polish. He fitted it firmly to the Chisel, so that they became one. The Chisel felt finished now. “Look at my handle and tell me I’m rough and crude,” The Chisel said to the Grinder.
The Grinder looked at the Chisel. “Maybe you will be something after I finish with you, maybe not.”
“What?” said the Chisel. “Are you blind?”
Night fell and the blacksmith left the workshop. The Chisel lay by the Grinder, wondering what more the blacksmith might have in mind for him in the morning.
As soon as the light went out, the Grinder described for the Chisel what a chisel was supposed to look like. Glistening. Sharp. Finely decorated by a master engraver.
The Chisel felt deflated. The Chisel’s metal had none of those things.
“Don’t be too disappointed,” The Grinder said, “I can fix you.” The Grinder flipped its power on and its wheel began to whirl. The Grinder touched its wheel to the Chisel, the room lit up with sparks and the Chisel was thrown across the table.
“Are you sure about this?” The Chisel’s blade now had a long crooked gash along its edge.
“Trust me. I CAN fix you. Soon you may even be beautiful.” The Grinder shuffled across the table and lowered its wheel to a different place on the chisel. A blast of sparks and the Chisel shot through the air like a bullet, clattering onto the concrete floor. The Chisel noticed several dents in its handle and a deep grind in its neck.
“I’m not so sure about this,” said the Chisel.
Grinder climbed down to the Chisel on the floor and stabbed its spinning wheel at the Chisel. Each touch blasted sparks into the air and spun the Chisel like a top. The more the Grinder tried to fix the Chisel the worse things got. Nicks and scratches covered the Chisel. The Grinder grew frustrated. “If you would just hold still, I would be done by now.”
“We aren’t doing this right,” said the Chisel. “I look worse.”
“I KNOW I CAN FIX YOU!” The Grinder shouted and went back to work. After many more tries the Chisel looked horrible.
“Stop it at once,” the Chisel said. “Let me try.”
The Grinder looked confused. “What do you mean?”
“If you hold still,” suggested the Chisel. “I will fix myself.” The Grinder held still and the Chisel lowered its tip slowly toward the racing grinding wheel. The tip of the Chisel caught violently and flung the Chisel into the air. Twang! The Chisel stuck in the ceiling boards like a throwing knife, wobbling and vibrating like a bell.
“What did you do?” Asked the Grinder from down on the floor. “Come down at once!”
“I don’t know how,” said the Chisel. No matter how much the Chisel tried to dislodge from the ceiling, nothing worked. The Grinder stared up at the Chisel all night. They fell asleep like that. Hopeless.
Finally, the morning came. The blacksmith came into his workshop and saw the Grinder sitting on the ground. He puzzled over this for a moment and then looked up. The Chisel felt very embarrassed to be stuck in the ceiling board.
The blacksmith replaced the Grinder on the table and pulled hard on the Chisel. It came out of the ceiling reluctantly. Then the blacksmith turned on a light by the Grinder with a cup of oil nearby and began to work. Sparks flew downward and bounced off the concrete, but the Chisel did not fly across the room. Under the steady hand of the blacksmith, the Chisel didn’t budge from the correct angle. The blacksmith dipped the Chisel in oil so it wouldn’t overheat and ruin its tempering. Slowly, the blacksmith transformed the Chisel into a tool. Sharp blade. Shiny bevel. Some of their destructive marks disappeared under his skill, some he let remain.
The blacksmith engraved his mark upon the Chisel and slipped it into a pouch filled with all of his other tools. The Chisel’s handle looked beautiful but worn. Its blade had several gouges and dings, but its edge was now perfectly sharp. The Chisel waited in the pouch, wondering what the blacksmith had in mind for the morning.
Only under the steady hand of the Maker can
life’s conflicts bring a sharpened edge.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
“Let them know that it is your hand, that you, Lord have done it.”
How do the expectations of others affect you?
What are some ways other people have tried to “fix you?”
What kind of person would you become if you put yourself completely in the hands of your Maker, allowing Him to use life’s conflicts to forge you?
There are a lot of tires in my town. Different sizes and kinds.
I remember when I was young, I saw a set of tires in a parade. They must have been from out of town. They were ten feet tall and so wide. I counted sixteen of them, and the dump truck they carried could barely fit on the street. I was impressed. Big. Strong. Tires.
“How do they carry so much rock,” I asked my mom. She was an ordinary bike tire like me.
“Air pressure,” she said.
“Wow, that’s amazing!” I said. I had no idea what air pressure was. “I want some.”
One of the big tires said, “Stay in school kid.” I flopped over in shock. Mom had to help me up because I wasn’t too good at getting up when I flopped over. My rubber was soft and wiggly.
“He talked to me,” I told my mom. “The big one, talked to me. He said I should stay in school.”
“You are still too young for school,” Mom said.
I bounced all the way home after the parade. I don’t think I stopped bouncing for a week. “Will I get that big and strong at school, Mom?”
“Pick up your toys,” Mom replied.
“Do they have air pressure at school, Mom?”
“Go roll in the back yard for a while,” Mom said.
I got a poster of the dump truck tire team for my bedroom. I stared at it every night before I leaned against the wall. “When I go to school, I will get some air pressure and then I will be strong enough to carry a dump truck full of rocks!”
On my first day at school I asked my teacher, a short wide tracked tire with deep tread that looked intimidating, “Do you have air pressure at school?”
I didn’t see the joke, but since she laughed I laughed too.
“I want to carry dump trucks full of rocks when I grow up,” I told my best friend. He was so tall and thin that he couldn’t hold himself up to roll at all. He had to flip himself, end over end, in any direction he wanted to go.
“Me too!” said my friend. I had to roll really slow with my friend, but I didn’t mind.
No one at school knew about air pressure, not even the principal. I was really surprised because he was a farm tractor tire. He ought to know. His rubber was so thick that he didn’t slump at all when he rolled. I looked at his inside once and he was just as hollow as the rest of us. I got a poster of a farm tractor tire for my bedroom anyway. Even though it was hollow, it could really roll. Even through mud! Maybe I wouldn’t be able to carry a dump truck full of rock when I got older, but I had to, at least, find a way to not slump when I rolled.
Have you seen old tires? They slump so far down that their rubber starts cracking. It’s embarrassing. I don’t want that to happen to me. I finished school and my mom started to look a little worn on her edges.
“I have to figure this out,” I told myself. I rolled around town looking for any tires that weren’t hollow because I figured that was the secret. “If I can get rid of the empty space inside me, I won’t slump anymore when I roll.”
And I was right, I found a guy who had filled himself with concrete. He didn’t slump at all. Though if he fell over, he had to call someone to hoist him up. He weighed a hundred pounds. But still. Maybe he had the right idea.
I couldn’t find any concrete, so I tried gravel. I made so much noise rolling down the street. Everyone noticed me, which was awesome. The girls thought it was cool. Soon every guy in town had gravel rattling around inside him. An old tire, his tread worn bald, shouted at me one day, “You crazy kids are so loud that I can’t get a decent nap in the afternoon.”
My mom hated it too because I left a trail of gravel right through the house when I visited.
I gave it up eventually. It didn’t really fix me. I still slumped when I rolled. I still felt hollow. The old tire was right, I figured. Gravel filling was just a lot of stupid noise. One day, when he wasn’t napping, I asked him about my slumping problem. “Your problem is speed,” he said. “When I was your age, I rolled twice as fast as you. I never worried about slumping.”
That sounded like a great idea. I started racing wherever I went. Now that was fun. Sure, I bumped a few tires over and left a lot of my rubber on the road, especially at the turns. But when you are racing, there is no room for thinking about the bigger problems in life. I raced until I found a beautiful tire who thought I was pretty great too. We got married.
Soon, we had a nice, little place and baby tires rolling everywhere. It was great because she was wonderful. And the kids? I loved every one of them all the way around the block and back. I didn’t have time to think about slumping. I was too busy brushing treads for bedtime and cleaning up muddy tracks through the kitchen.
Once my wife got a tire sitter. She and I took a nice, slow roll around our neighborhood. I told her about the dump truck tires I had seen as a kid and how I still wished I knew how they carried all those rocks. She rolled really close to me and listened. Having a great tire like her to roll with felt great. Really. Wonderful. I was one lucky tire.
I still was hollow and slumping a little more each day. “No problem,” I told myself. “I’m just not as young as I used to be. Happens to every tire.” We decided to get a tire sitter more often and we were soon taking rolls every Friday night.
Every morning I woke and saw all of my kids chasing each other around the house. “Look at all the great tires in my life. It doesn’t matter that my tread is half gone and my slump is worsening.”
Still, I felt hollow. How did those tires carry all those rocks? I couldn’t answer the question and I couldn’t give it up. It began to haunt my dreams. One day, I decided. “We’re going on a vacation!” Talk about excited! We had tracks right up the walls after that announcement.
We traveled to the big city where they had a giant amusement park. Jumps. Coasters. Water rides. Animals. I couldn’t keep up with everything. They even had air conditioned paths so your rubber didn’t get so hot. They’d thought of everything at that place. We rolled so many miles that even my kids were slumping.
When we leaned against the wall that night, we were all out like a light.
The little tires grew up too fast. They went to school. We didn’t need a tire sitter anymore, but we still took rolls every Friday night. My wife was slumping a bit too, but she still rolled close. I figured we had done pretty well for ourselves, but I was still missing something. It bothered me.
I tried to stop worrying about it. “There are some things you just aren’t mean to figure out, right?” I told myself.
I began taking afternoon naps on the front porch. I remember one year, kids began putting gravel in their tires again. My wife and I laughed and laughed. Even crazy ideas come around again.
The old guy who filled himself with concrete accidentally rolled himself into the lake. That was three summers back.
Tires are racing from place to place, faster every year. I started taking more naps.
Then, one hot summer day, I saw something that made me flop right over. My wife had to help me back onto my tread. We stared over the hedge at our new neighbors. The four of them were carrying a whole wagon! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, so I rolled around the hedge to get a closer look. They weren’t hollow. In fact they all had some kind of doohickey contraption inside their rubber. I felt a thrill of excitement in my threads. Each one of them could hook right into the wagon and lift it up as easy as that.
I bounced over to them and forgot to welcome them to the neighborhood. “How much did you pay for that doohickey?”
“Oh. We didn’t buy them. They were a gift,” said the guy.
I couldn’t understand what I was even seeing. “How do they work?” I felt like a kid at the parade.
The guy with the doohickey set down his corner of the wagon and rolled over. “They have three parts. The Hub is the part in the center. The wheel is the part with the wires and rim.”
The chrome wheel glistened in the sunlight.
“And the third part is air pressure,” He explained.
I flopped over again, right in front of him. “Air Pressure! You know about air pressure?”
“Yes, The Wheel Maker gave us some,” the guys seemed surprise at my flopping, but I didn’t care.
“I have been trying to find some air pressure since I was a boy!” I said, still flat on the ground. “Can you get some for me? I really want some air pressure.”
“We don’t know how to give you air pressure,” said the guy’s wife. I noticed she had the same doohickey inside her tire, but it was yellow. What was it? A hub. A wheel and air pressure. I got up onto my treads.
“I have to have some. I have been searching since I was young,” I said.
“We’ve got his phone number. You should call him.”
I remembered the dump truck tires carrying all that rock. “Your wagon. It must weigh a ton.”
“It’s heavy,” said the guy. “But not too much.”
“I can’t believe it,” I said.
“Call the wheel Maker, he’ll fix you up,” said my new neighbor.
The Wheel Maker. How could such a person exist when no one in town knew about him? I called the number. “The wheel Maker will arrive at your house shortly,” said the message.
“How? I haven’t told you my address.”
I called my kids, “Bring everyone. The Wheel Maker is coming to my house.”
All the kids and Grandtires had barely arrived when a man knocked on the door. I opened the door and invited him in.
He held something in his hand. “I was so happy to get your call,” He said.
“You were?” I asked.
He held a dusty doohickey in his hand. It had a old worn tag tied to it with yellowing string. “Yes, I made this for you long ago and it’s just been gathering dust all these years.”
“You made that for me?” I couldn’t believe it.
“Yes, see the serial numbers match,” The Wheel Maker rubbed the dust off the tag and bent over so I could read it. He was right. The numbers matched mine.
“I knew something was missing,” I said. “I saw the giant tires carrying the dump truck full of rock. They weren’t hollow and slumping like everyone else.”
“Ah. Yes. They are a part of my team. My family,” said The Wheel Maker. He knelt down and looked at me. “Will you accept my gift? My hub will be the center of everything you do. My wheel will be your strength. My air pressure will hold everything together.”
“I don’t have enough money for this,” I said.
“It’s not for sale,” The Wheel Maker said. “It’s my gift, made specifically for you. Will you accept it?”
“Yes. Yes and yes!” I shouted.
The Wheel Maker smiled and picked me up. Somehow, he put his doohickey contraption inside my rubber and filled me with air. It happened so fast, it surprised me. I felt completely different. Like a totally new tire. My family gasped.
“How do I look?” I asked them. They were speechless.
“See for yourself,” The Wheel Maker said, and held up a mirror. I had a strong hub, a shiny wheel. I could feel the air pressure inside of me, like a miracle.
“I am whole. Finally. I am complete.”
“Yes, you are,” said The Wheel Maker.
I couldn’t help myself. I ran a track right up the wall. “I feel right. For the first time in my life, nothing is missing!”
“Welcome to my family,” said The Wheel Maker.
I couldn’t contain myself. I yelled, “I once was hollow and empty. But now I am whole. I once was slumping. But now I am strong.” I rolled outside and shouted it again and again. I couldn’t stop until everyone single tire in town had heard me. “I once was hollow, but now I am whole.”
On our own, we are hollow and incomplete. Only The Maker can fill the void at our center.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
“You make know to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence…”
What do you long for in life?
Identify some things you thought would bring you wholeness and fulfillment, but did not?
What would happen if you invited the Maker to fill the void at your center?
“Air traffic control. This is flight 362. Requesting permission to land.”
“362. This is air traffic control. Permission denied. Please circle at ten thousand feet at this time.” I stay at ten thousand feet. I circle again. I argue with the Maker as I orbit the airport in a long lazy pattern. Again and again, waiting for permission to land. Never landing. I can see all the places I want to visit once I finally arrive. There are streams of cars and trucks with their lights illuminating the busy city streets with white and red. They seem so happy. They can go where they want and do the same.
“I don’t like this delay,” I complain to the Maker. “I have so many dreams. Places I will go. Things I will do. I am tired of being in this holding pattern. I want to put down my wheels and land.”
Day after day, I circle. My dreams are below me, so close I can taste them. So easy. I don’t understand why I can’t land. As I circle I make lists of everything I will do when I land. Making plans, but never accomplishing. Never doing. I grow anxious. I become dissatisfied with this eternal holding pattern. I complain. I blame the Maker. I rage. Nothing will ever change.
Time passes. All my dreams are rotting on the vine. My internal monologue is boring even to me. My accusations of persecution ring hollow. Finally, I stop. And ask, “Maker, what do you have planned for me?”
“You will be a tree planted by a stream of water, yielding your fruit in season. Your leaves will not wither. You will prosper in everything you do.”
“What? Are you joking? Are you taunting me? I’ve been trying to get started with prospering forever, and you have me stuck in this eternal holding pattern over the airport. Then you tell me I will prosper in everything I do? You won’t let me do, anything. How can you say that to me, when I can’t even put down my wheels and land?”
The Maker sighs and comes close. “Do you feel the wind? Close your eyes and really feel it.”
“Yes, of course I feel the wind. I am an airplane. The air is what holds me up. I am always feeling the wind.”
“That is what you have always believed, but it is not true,” says the Maker. He reaches out and opens my eyes. I mean, really opens them. For the first time, I see what I am. I am a tree not an airplane. I shudder in disbelief. The wind rustles my leaves and makes my branches sway. How could I have not known this? All these years.
I see the bustling city far below me for I am growing on a precipice, exposed to the wind and weather. Airplanes circle over my head and land, every few minutes, for I am aligned with the runway. I can see the air traffic control tower.
“I am not an airplane. I am a tree,” I say in utter shock.
“I planted you here,” the Maker says. “By this stream, so that your roots could grow deep into the mountain. And you would yield much fruit.”
I watch the airplanes landing. I see the bustling traffic far below. Then I feel my roots deep in this rocky soil. I feel the wind rustling my leaves. And for the first time, I hear the music of that sound. Rustling. That beautiful symphony of wind and leaf.
I see that everything I had believed and struggled for was delusion. I am a tree planted by a stream of water bearing fruit in season. I wonder and dream what my fruit might be. I put down my roots into the ground and drink from the living water.
When I understand what I am,
I can see my purpose.
“He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”
What plans and dreams do you have that seem like they will never happen?
How do your unfulfilled hopes and expectations affect your life?
How would it change you to know your Maker has a beautiful plan for your and is intimately working toward its fulfillment?
With gnarled hands and a stooped back, the Old Rubbish Man pulled his cart. One wheel squeaked and the other one wobbled, but the cart rolled true behind him. A great canvas covered a mountain of cargo. When the Old Rubbish Man tugged on the cart, it always followed.
The old man searched, with a gleam in his eyes, as he passed each house on the street.
Soon, he found a treasure in the garbage can of Mrs. Anderson. A toaster, all broken and battered.
“That toaster is garbage,” Mrs. Anderson called out from the house. “It burns every slice that it toasts.”
The Old Rubbish Man slipped in under the canvas and tied it down securely.
Mrs. Anderson scowled at the the Old Rubbish Man, but he just smiled and rolled on by.
Under a pile of bags meant for the landfill, the Old Rubbish Man found a twisted scooter. “It’s garbage. It wobbles. It’s ugly,” said Mr. Simon McMillon the third.
The Old Rubbish Man just nodded and waved as he added the find to his cart.
At the end of the street he turned left down Maple where he discovered a chipped set of glasses.
On Douglas, at First Street, he found a broken snow shovel.
On Lake Drive, he found an old rusty skillet.
The Old Rubbish Man pulled his cart to a curb and locked the wheels in place. He took a stool from the cart, sat down and lifted the canvas over his head. A light turned on under the canvas. Beams of light shone through the holes and gaps. The Old Rubbish Man chose the right tools and began to work, hidden under the canvas. People walking by heard thuds and the clinking of metal. All day he tinkered. Cars drove by and didn’t see him. He hammered. He cut. He welded. He filed. He built.
Slowly, he transformed the battered toaster, the twisted scooter, the chipped glasses, the broken snow shovel and the rusty skillet.
When he had finished his work, the Old Rubbish Man smiled. “Perfect,” he whispered and turned out his light.
He hauled his cart for many miles until he reached the back driveway of a mansion. Up to the house, the Old Rubbish Man pulled his cart.
He opened a wide door and dragged the cart inside.
“Sir, the guests are arriving!” said a butler to the Old Rubbish Man.
“Everything is ready,” said the old man.
“The butler looked shocked. “Your clothes, sir. And may I suggest a shower?”
“Tell them I’ll be down shortly.”
The Old Rubbish Man dressed in the finest clothes and met his guests in the grand ballroom.
They all clapped at his arrival and looked around for the cart. They found it in the place of honor, the canvas tied tightly. A brilliant light shone down on it from above.
The dirty canvas sparkled with golden light. The wheels were encrusted with gems. The two cart handles were solid diamond, glowing from inside.
The guests waited impatiently, for each of them knew that the real treasure lay beneath the golden canvas.
The Old Rubbish Man, looking very much the ‘master of the house’ now, strode over to the cart. He reached under the canvas and pulled out the broken toaster. His hands lifted it high for the guests to see. At the sight, applause erupted. The toaster was now a gleaming, silver airplane. The Master of the House threw the plane into the air and it flew around above their heads. Its engine coils glowed red like a toaster.
The Master revealed the twisted scooter; now an elaborate sculpture of a bear on roller skates. The guests were delighted as the bear rolled circles around them. They laughed as he danced.
The Master of the House had transformed the chipped cups into the finest cut crystal, each piece a unique beauty.
The broken shovel now had a handle of gleaming metal, a scoop of gold and a blade edge of ruby.
The rusty skillet was polished like new and could now cook without a stove. The guests clapped. The Master of the House smiled. The airplane, the bear, the crystal glasses, the shovel and the skillet were given five places of honor at the head table. The Master warmly greeted each guest by name. They celebrated long into the night.
As the sun rose, the Old Rubbish Man heard the garbage trucks warming up their engines.
He left the party, changed his clothes and pulled the cart out of the garage.
The sun sparkled behind the mountains.
“Another garbage day,” the Old Rubbish Man said. “How exciting!”
With gnarled hands and a stooped back, the Old Rubbish Man pulled his cart.
Others may see me as worthless and broken,
But the Maker sees me as His treasure.
“The Lord has declared this day that you are His people, his treasured possession…”
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
The people of the city were surprised, even angry, that the Old Rubbish Man showed interest in their garbage. Why do you think they reacted this way?
What was your response when the Old Rubbish Man transformed useless garbage into treasures?
Think of a time in your life when you felt you had little valve or worth. How would it change your perception to know you are loved and treasured by your Maker?