The compost pile

compost-bin-pictureToday a friend of mine mentioned the picture of a compost pile. A compost pile is a nasty place that you may have in your garden. It’s a place of decay. A place of death. It’s a place where you can throw out your different food left overs, fruit peels, etc., and let it decay and die in a big pile. While it’s decaying it stinks. Life is sapped out, and it leaves a foul odor. It doesn’t look good to the eye either. It’s stuff we don’t appreciate with any of our senses. Maybe we even put it in a bin, so we don’t have to see it and smell it.

But a compost pile is a place of one of the miracles God has put into life. Death brings life. What was at some point decaying, ugly, foul-smelling garbage, becomes rich and fertile soil that can be used to bring life to your plants, crops, trees, and eventually rich fruit comes out of death.

I was encouraged to be reminded of this principle in life that death brings life. If I want to experience life in my relationship with Jeannette I must die to my own will and put her before me. If I want deep, open, life giving friendship it’s a process of mutual self-sacrificial love where I die to my preferences in order to love the other person. If I want a close relationship with God, I must surrender and die to my own agenda and submit myself to his in order to experience life. If I want to fully experience the abundant life Christ offers to his followers, I must embrace my c0-crucifixion with him, my co-death, my co-burial, my co-ascension and my co-seating with him next to God the Father. Any time I try to do things my way, I experience death and lack of life. And every time I die to my own ways and accept that God knows best, I get to experience life.

The Great Gardener

I have been feeling very heavy hearted these last few weeks, because of the decay and death I see in many of my friends life these days. Working with counseling doesn’t help in that way either. I see death in relationships, and I see the pain and frustration. And I see the counterfeit pleasures that we so easily settle for, and the mediocrity, frustration, guilt and ultimately shame that lead to. And I get sad. Sad that life isn’t happening as much as I dream about. The more I get to know God and his ability to bring forth life from death in my life, the higher dreams and desires I have for myself, my loved ones and other people I encounter to experience that life. But at times, I get sad when I see the hardships we put ourselves into with our choices.

But this morning God reminded me of the hope we have in him through the picture of a compost pile. God can and will bring life out of the death that I see so much of. It may have to hurt and stink a lot before we accept our death and allow him to bring life forth from the messes we make. And it hurts when I see friends who are in the process of paying the consequences of their poor choices. But it’s never my job to save anybody. It’s never my job to fix anybody. I’m not capable of that. So I surrender, once again, to the fact that God is the Great Gardener. God is the one who has brought and will bring life forth from my own garbage. And when he has done it so many times for me, I can rest in the fact that he will do it in the lives of the people I see who are making choices that are leading them away from the best that God has for them.

A platform to stand on

This is also a reminder to myself when I see my own poor choices. I am so glad that God is always in the business of bringing forth life, whether I work against him or not. I am so glad that what has hurt most in my life, the stuff I wished hadn’t happened is where he is bringing forth my strongest testimony. When you have experienced death and God’s healing and life in an area of your life, you have a platform to stand on, when you minister to other people. You have walked the walk, so you have an earned right to minister to other people and tell them about the hope we have in Christ. I am grateful that God is speaking through my compost pile. Some of my garbage is already bringing life to other people. Other areas are still in the process of decaying and dying, but I know that God will bring a rich testimony out of all of it, as long as I don’t jump out of the compost pile and try to fix myself. 

Blessings, Torben  – who is grateful that my relationship with God is not based on me and my performance, but on the steadfast love of God! And who has been reminded of the fact that nobody is immune to fall into whatever temptation. It’s only by abiding in God day by day that I stay on the best course God has for me. 

Be careful if you think you stand, you just might be sinking” (Casting Crowns, Slow Fade)

Pride goes before destruction. And a haughty spirit before stumbling” (Proverbs 16:18)

1 Response to “The compost pile”

  1. 1 Alyona
    December 16, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    oh, Torben, I feel so bad about my life these days…this year..
    “I look at my life and it STINKS”:(
    Just looked through your blog…and found myself in Kyiv.
    Afraid, I don’t allow God to really persuade me in HIS LOVE. Neither in Kyiv nor in Minsk.
    i’m lost, gloomy…broken… and run not to God but far-far away from Him…
    fed up with myself.
    remember me please in your prayers one day… just say that one of His kids really needs Him
    with love,
    PS I really fond of Phillip Yancey’s books ( started from “What’s so amazing about grace” at the lectures)

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