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God can put the pieces back together
Spiritual Spinach

God can put the pieces back together

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I’ve never blown up an egg in the microwave before.

Now, I can add this to my list of cooking mishaps.

It started, because I just wanted an egg salad sandwich.

So I began boiling water and later put a couple of eggs in the pan.

I figured they’d be OK even if the water didn’t quite cover them.

But while peeling the eggs, I saw that one of the yellow centers was softer than I wanted.

So I put that egg in the microwave to cook it a little more.

I jumped when I heard the pop.

Pieces of crumbled egg covered the inside of my microwave.

It was a mess.

As I cleaned out the crumbles, I started thinking about a time when it seemed like my whole world blew up.

My friend, Carol Swanda, and I recently talked about those days along with Bible times’ people, who probably thought their whole world had blown up, too.

Our brief list of hard-hit souls includes:

Job.

  • When it comes to suffering, this poor guy tops the list in the Old Testament.

Earlier in his life, Job owned thousands of sheep and camels and hundreds of oxen and donkeys. Job had lots of servants. He and his wife had 10 children. Job was a well-respected, do-good guy, who helped widows, orphans and foreigners.

Then Job lost all his livestock and almost all his servants. His children were killed in a weird-weather accident and he was afflicted with sores from head to foot. His siblings shunned him. Three close friends became his critics and his wife told him to “Curse God and die.”

Job literally sat in ashes.

Ruth.

  • This Moabite woman was married about 10 years when her husband died leaving her childless. The life she’d known with her spouse and any dreams for their future were gone.

Her mother-in-law Naomi had lost her own husband and two sons, who included Ruth’s spouse.

Now, Naomi planned to go home to Bethlehem, leaving Ruth behind.

Peter.

  • The only disciple who tried to walk on the water with Jesus must have thought his world had shattered to pieces when Christ was led away to his death.

Previously, Peter said he’d die with Jesus. But Christ told Peter that before a rooster crowed, the outspoken disciple would deny him three times.

And it happened just like Jesus said it would.

When faced with accusation, Peter later lied, telling people he didn’t even know Christ. Three times, he’d deny ever being associated with Jesus.

Then the rooster crowed.

Worse yet, Jesus turned and looked at Peter after he claimed not to know him and the disciple remembered what Christ had said.

Peter went away and wept bitterly.

***

All three of these people — Job, Ruth and Peter — faced heartbreaking situations, which must have looked hopeless at the time.

None of them could have known how well things would turn out at the end.

***

After all the heartache he faced, Job got an up-close and personal view of God.

“I had heard of you, but now my eyes see you,” Job said.

God let Job’s friends know that what they’d said to their downtrodden friend was wrong.

And it would take the prayer of Job to keep the Lord from giving them what they deserved.

After Job prayed for his friends, God not only restored his fortune, but doubled it.

Job’s siblings and everybody who’d known him before his tragic experiences came and ate with him at his house. They showed him sympathy and each gave him a piece of money and a gold ring.

“And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning,” the Scriptures record.

He’d have 10 more children and live to be a very old man.

***

Ruth would accompany Naomi back to the older woman’s homeland. There, the loyal daughter-in-law worked in the fields, gathering food for herself and Naomi.

Townspeople noticed Ruth’s hard work and dedication to her mother-in-law and she caught the eye of a kind landowner named Boaz.

After a little advice from Naomi, Ruth let Boaz know she was available.

And he made arrangements to make her his wife.

The happy couple had a baby named, Obed, who had a son named, Jesse, who was the father of David.

You remember David, right?

He’s the guy who killed the giant Goliath and later became King of Israel.

Like Ruth, David became an ancestor of Jesus, who died to save people from their sins.

***

Not one to hold a grudge, Jesus forgave Peter for denying that he ever knew him and the disciple went on to become an apostle, spreading the Gospel.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus suffered a horrible, humiliating and excruciatingly painful death on a cross.

And lots of people probably thought their dreams had been broken to pieces when he died.

The day Jesus died must have seemed hopeless.

But that wasn’t the end.

It was just the beginning.

Christ rose from the grave, bringing joy to lots of heartbroken people and hope to generations of folks.

It’s true that in a sin-wracked world, not every story has a happy ending.

Yet while we might not have a great ending on this earth, we can have a marvelous future in eternity.

I was 16 when someone told me that if I believed Jesus died on the cross, repented of my sins and asked Jesus into my heart that I could go to heaven.

Life hasn’t been the same since I prayed that prayer.

It’s been so much better.

Later, I did fall away, but discovered that our Lord has a way of bringing people back to him.

Granted, it did seem like my whole world had blown up after my late husband, Chuck, died.

But the Lord has taught me many lessons and I’ve discovered new facets of his faithfulness that I’ve never known before.

I’ve learned that just because you have a tragic chapter — or chapters — in your life, it doesn’t meant that the book of your life story can’t be good.

And just because you blow up an egg in the microwave, it doesn’t mean you can’t make a really good sandwich with the egg you have left.

Tammy Real-McKeighan is news editor of the Fremont Tribune. She writes a weekly faith-based column.

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