I just finished reading a memoir by Marion Duckworth entitled Naked on God’s Doorstep. It was on the bargain book rack at Bereans and the title caught my eye. It’s the testimony of God miraculous work in one woman’s life. When Marion was a young girl, her mentally ill father was institutionalized. She grew up fatherless and impoverished in cracker-box apartments throughout Manhattan and Coney Island, but God had a greater plan for her life.
In her book, she talks about admiring her friend’s beautiful flower beds and gardens. She decided that she wanted a compost pile for her birthday. Not many people would ask for a pile of stinky potato skins, moldy lettuce leaves, and rotten apple cores, but Marion knew there was promise there. That rotting, stinking refuse transformed into nourishment for carrots, tomatoes, and Peonies. And they thrived.
One day as Marion took her pail of onion skins, ends of broccoli stems, and miscellaneous chunks of yuck to her smoldering compost pile a thought hit her. “God performs spiritual composting too!” He takes the junk of our lives, abuse, abandonment, addictions, hurt, pain, anger and asks us to throw it all in his compost bin. There it breaks down, decomposes, and smolders until it becomes fertilizer for our spirits. And we bear much fruit. Not wimpy, half-grown fruit, but big, plump, juicy fruit that sends trails of sugary juices down chins and touches the hurting souls of those around us.
Maybe that’s what James meant when he said, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may mature and complete not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)
What pain has God dug up in your life? What ugliness has he revealed to you? Just this week God has dug up some of my own yuck and has asked me to give it him, throw it on the compost pile, and allow him to use it. It’s not easy, but the end result will be well worth it!