God’s ‘Garbage’:: By Edwin Tan

Perceptions, preferences, biases, affinities and aversions are inescapable facets of being human. A summation of all these characteristics produces mindsets; some can be subtle, while others do stand out prominently. Everyone has a distinct way of looking at things, so much for variations in opinions. There may be areas of commonality, but do not expect to find a perfect carbon copy.

Herein lies the honest truth; whatever has been mentioned above is part and parcel of the fallen nature in every man, woman and child. A further complication sets in when this earthly aspect of humanity is bolstered by ceaseless socialization. At the very end of the day, it is nothing but the way society, in general, sees it.

More often than not, a lot of practicing Christians superimpose this worldly lens on the Creator. They expect God to function the way society thinks and acts. Some hard nuts go to the extreme of uttering prayers solely for the purpose of making a dissenter agree to their way, insisting that God would favor their line of argument!

The problem is, close to nobody truly sees it His way. Our Heavenly Father is omnipotent, omnipresent and infinite in resources. “For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.’ Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Corinthians 1:19-20).

Tough call for a lot of people, Christians included. They cannot envisage that which they consider to be out of this world being chosen by the Lord. Oftentimes, these folks are quick to dismiss, discard, and, at best, downplay their earthly intellectual faculties being the basis of such sweeping conclusions.

“But My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,’ says the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts'” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

It is indeed well documented in the Bible where the hard-to-swallow workings of the Lord are mentioned. Take the case of Gideon’s token force against the juggernaut of the Midianites. It is all too easy to arrive at what would sound like a forgone conclusion. If ever a punt existed, hardly any person would place a bet favoring the underdogs. But the Lord said it so differently yet convincingly.

“Then the LORD turned to him and said, ‘Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?’ So he said to Him, ‘O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.’ And the LORD said to him, ‘Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man'” (Judges 6:14-16).

So Gideon’s token force accomplished what seemed to be impossible. Because the Lord said so, it was done. No questions asked!

Another wonderful example of the Lord’s working in an unconventional way was the manner He communicated with the prophet Elijah. In this case, earthly expectation was given the thumbs down!

“Then He said, ‘Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.’ And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him and said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?'” (1 Kings 19:11- 13).

From Elijah’s encounter with the Lord, we see a very unique pattern. God does it in a way man least expects. The intellectuals are continually baffled. These are individuals so accustomed to pomp and splendor in a loud style. They could be spellbound in a state of utter disbelief!

There is so much disbelief across continents, more so a hardening against what is genuinely His blessing. Refusing to acknowledge the truth leads to a mind highly susceptible to everything from the father of lies. What is truly phony is being touted as a blessing from the heavens, all because emotions stemming from the fallen nature drive the acceptance of falsehoods versus the Way, the Truth and the Life!

In their eyes, it is all trash – not even worth a cursory glance. There are seemingly more important matters needing attention. Do these really get you anywhere? Or is it something to the tune of a needless and worthless wild goose chase?

For the person who walks closely with the Lord, everything is seen through the lens of truth. Biases and preconceived notions are swept aside by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The Lord will never confuse anyone who is prepared to listen to His still small voice. He is indeed gentle and patient when He teaches us about the truth.

We have our peculiarities and idiosyncrasies which could make us fit for a pillory. But in the eyes of our Lord, it does not go to waste. Same goes for what the world laughs at where we are concerned. These people pass quick judgments on what appears to them as wrong steps, foolish moves and wasted opportunities. All of these will make sense to us at some point in time – through the enabling and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. The unbelieving and skeptical crowd can label this stuff as garbage, but all these are truly His tender mercies, without which we will not function as instruments of God’s grace. So be patient and do not grow weary.

“Through the LORD’S mercies, we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

If not for His grace and mercy, we would have perished long ago, but through this, we take every day in our stride as we await His glorious appearing!



Contact me at edwinuk13@gmail.com