Two black-speckled bananas are on my kitchen counter. If you stopped by the parsonage and saw them, you would probably suck in air through your teeth. You’d tell me to throw them away but I won’t; they’re too valuable. I know if I take a few ingredients that are not-so-delicious by themselves: flour, soda, oil, vanilla (have you ever tasted pure vanilla?!) and eggs, then throw in some sugar, those over-ripe bananas will become something wonderful…banana bread.
God does the same thing with us! When we feel unworthy, unlikely, and past helping, He takes us in His Hands and makes a whole new-and sometimes wonderful-creation! He often uses the not so great experiences in our lives to help shape us. But He never, EVER throws us away because we are too valuable to Him! Second Peter 3:9 reminds me: “The Lord is not willing that any should perish”. He knows our potential! Our worth!
I’m encouraged that all through the Bible, God used unlikelies to do great things! In Casting Crowns’ song “Nobody”, one line is: “He used 12 outsiders nobody would’ve chosen and He changed the world”. And HE STILL does!
There are even speckled bananas in the Christmas story! (Yes, the Christmas story!) Being young, poor and female, Mary was an unlikely choice to do anything important. Still, when others might have counted her out, she was the one prophecies had spoken of! And what about those shepherds?! They were dirty, outcasts of society but were the first to hear the good news of Jesus’ birth one holy night at work! Then they told everybody they met! Jesus’ story was just beginning! He left a trail far and wide of untouchables He changed forever.
As followers of Christ, do we see the potential of others or do we judge them by the specks on their peel? Do we see their worth or do with discard them? I wonder how many times I have appeared to be a speckled banana and people have counted me out. Yikes!
My friend, Beverly (not her real name), is one of my favorite bananas. She has speckles and scars from many years of drug use-since age 11-but now has been clean for over 300 days! Thank you so much for praying for her last week! I spoke to her a few days ago on the phone through the plexiglass at the jail. I told her people all over were praying for her. (That made her cry.) I could not fix all of her problems and I could not make it to court with her. I told her there would be times in her life when she only had God and He was/is enough.
I received many emails with suggestions and directions for her future. Thank you so much for those! God did open a door for her! She has been taken to a rehabilitation center where she can continue her recovery. She sleeps in a real bed and wears clothes that are not jail issued. I cannot call or visit her for 30 days and that’s absolutely fine. I know she is safe. I know she is warm. And I know she has God with her. He sees her worth and is helping her to become something wonderful!
Now, I have a hankering to make some banana bread!
Dawn Reed is a newspaper columnist and pastor's wife in Prestonsburg. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.