10.25.2011

Dumpster Diver

The very thought of crawling into the dumpster behind my house makes me gag. Most of the time, I just chunk my stuff over the top and go on my merry way. A few times, though, I’ve had the pleasure of observing what’s inside. It isn’t pretty. In fact, I’m not sure I want to share details on the leaky bags of filth, dirty diapers, moldy leftovers, and gruesome slime smeared on the sides of the massive garbage container. No amount of urging could persuade me to go digging for my recently thrown thrash.

I wonder how many times God’s watched us go back and try to find the inferior things He’s instructed us to throw away. We go digging into the dumpster of our past, choosing to remember rather than forget the things that are behind us.

“Brethren, I do not count myself as to have apprehended, but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13)

The things behind us could be many things. A colorful past, a broken relationship, a bad habit, or a dream God never intended for us to pursue. Whatever it is, in God’s eyes, those things are trash. They were sent to the dumpster with the rest of the counterfeits, with the intention of never being seen again.

Like most human beings, though, we get excited about the new stuff, but later begin to wonder if the old was better. What if we missed out by throwing the old away? Maybe we still needed to hold on to the old “just in case” the new didn’t work out. So we dive into our dumpster and dig through all the trash to find that long, lost “treasure.”

God’s instructions on that are clear: “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road to the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18, 19)

Whenever He wants us to send something to the dumpster, it’s to make way for something clean and fresh. The challenge is for us to trust that His new is so much better than our old. If we believe that and press on toward the future He’s mapped out for us, we will reach our prize. It won’t be a bundle of dirty diapers or moldy leftover noodle casserole, either. It will be more like an oasis in a desert.