Recently, I read again the story of the feeding of the 5,000 (John 6:1-15) in preparation for a girls’ group that meets online once a week. When I come across a familiar story like that, I pray that God would show me something new, something I’ve never seen before.
I love when God answers that prayer.
Verse 12 stopped me in my tracks: “And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “’Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.’”
Gather the fragments so nothing is lost. What a beautiful statement of comfort and affirmation of God’s grace in the midst of our struggles.
I have faced times in my life when I have felt like my life was a bunch of fragments. Job loss. Death. Friends with terminal illness. Depression. People I love walking through deep, dark valleys with no light in sight. Crushed dreams and unfulfilled desires. I’m sure you’ve been there, too.
This verse reminds me that nothing is wasted. No tear I shed. No question I ask. No heartache I endure. No prayer I utter in the middle of the night. None of it goes unnoticed. None of it is lost.
This is just speculation on my part, but I think those leftover pieces of fish and bread became a meal for a family. Or even several families. After all, these were day laborers who didn’t take their daily bread for granted. They knew even pieces of food can become a feast in the right hands.
God takes the fragments of my dreams, the pieces of heartache I endure, and uses them for my good and His glory. I don’t know how or when, but I trust that He does not lose or waste any trial or struggle. Like pieces of broken glass in a mosaic, my experiences and tears and groaning and grieving and laughter and joy all come together to create a piece of art that only the Great Artist could design. His power and wisdom and glory on display.
I rarely (if ever) know what God is accomplishing through the experiences of my life as they unfold, but I can trust His love and His goodness and His infinite love for me. I can rest assured that He doesn’t waste anything. He is doing far more than I could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
And He’s doing the same in your life, too.