What's in Your Basket?
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
Do you like cooking shows? My family and I like to watch the cooking show CHOPPED. In that show, several top-notch chefs are given a basket of ingredients with which to hopefully make a savory dish. The challenge is in the ingredients; there is always an item or two that no chef in his right mind would choose. How does anyone make a five-star dessert with gummy worms ... or grits ... or baby beets? (I hate beets.)
Amazingly, the master chefs are able to take all the odd-ball ingredients in each course basket (appetizer, entree, and dessert) and work them together to make a great-tasting meal.
GOD IS THE MASTER CHEF
When it comes to life, God is the Master Chef. He is the One who is able to take all the difficult experiences and bad-tasting ingredients that befall us in life and work them together for good. He is the God who is able to give beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3).
I talked to a friend this week who is facing some very tough circumstances. Complications from a routine cataract surgery ended up costing him his right eye. And if that weren't enough to deal with, he is fighting prostate cancer that has spread. Without question, he has found some bad ingredients in his basket.
But you know what is great about my friend? He is trusting God through it all. While he surely doesn't understand why this is coming upon him, he knows the Lord loves Him ... and He loves the Lord. And because he loves the Lord, Romans 8:28 is a promise for him to claim: "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
What do you do when your basket seems to be filled with baby beets and other undesirable ingredients? Do you curse God and die? Do you get bitter and lash out? Do you throw in the towel and quit? Let me encourage you to do what my friend is doing and turn all the bitter ingredients over to the Master Chef, the Lord Jesus Christ, and trust Him to work it together for good.
JOSEPH'S BITTER BASKET
Genesis tells us the amazing story of Joseph. What did Joseph have in his basket? Hatred and Betrayal—his brothers hated him because he was daddy's favorite, and they sold him into slavery in Egypt. Lies and Suffering—as Potiphar's wife lied about him and said that he tried to rape her. Darkness and Gloom—as he spent years of his life in a dark and foul prison, forgotten and forlorn. (His basket of ingredients made baby beets look like chocolate covered almonds.)
But God reached down into his basket, took all the bad ... and made a masterpiece! And when God took his dish out of the oven, Joseph went from the prison to the palace. He became the Prime Minister of Egypt. WOW! Talk about a promotion! Years later, he told his brothers, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20).
My friend, God is able to take the worst of ingredients and work them together for good. It is a rock solid promise in His Word. So the challenge is this: will you trust Him in the dark hour, when all hope seems lost, to make a masterpiece from your basket?
Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for over 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.