A couple of years ago, I wrote a post called "Coupons and Dumpster Diving". Which can be found here ....
Anyhow, the post was just brought back to mind as I listened to a testimony of a drug addicted, homeless woman who found a Bible while rummaging through the dumpster. She remarked that while she was looking for food or something she could sell for money, God gave her His word. She put that book in her backpack and it took her several months to read it but she kept it with her. She was eventually invited to a Bible study and it was there that she discovered the life giving message in God's word.
This testimony reminded me that I didn't tell you the rest of the story about my dumpster experience. Yes, I was in the dumpster looking for coupons and thankfully not for food. But for me, it was a low moment. I live in what's considered the richest county in the country and there I was searching for coupons in the dumpster. Perhaps the best part of this story other than the grace of my children that I described in the first post, is that I not only hit the mother load of coupons that day, but I also found a treasure of God's word.
The dumpsters I rummaged through were at the local recycling center. As I pulled the stacks of newspapers aside, I uncovered piles and piles of books. At first, I thought nothing of the books but then I discovered it was an entire collection of Christian books, Bibles, Bible commentaries and devotions. I saw titles I immediately recognized like, Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren and Streams in the Desert by Oswald Chambers. It appeared that someone had thrown away someone's entire library of Christian books. I then began to pull books out for friends of mine, my kids and myself. I couldn't believe someone had cast aside so many wonderful books of hope and wisdom.
In a moment that was so shame filled for me, God let me know that He saw me. He not only provided for me through the coupons but through the gift of these trashed books. He let me know that He was right there in the dumpster with me. Doesn't He tell us over and over that when we are in our lowest moments, He is right there with us?
Think of Abraham's first sacrifice and God passing through the pieces. When Jacob ran for His life, God spent a night wrestling with him. When Daniel's three friends were thrown into a fiery furnace everyone witnessed the fourth man in that furnace with them which was the Lord, Himself. And in the New Testament, after the resurrection, the disciples walked along road had a friend walking right alone with them explaining what had happened; little did they know it was Jesus walking along with them, they just didn't recognize Him.
The homeless woman's testimony reminded me of the times Jesus was right there with me. Jesus was with me after a miscarriage wrecked me and I ran from my house in a snow storm to cry and scream at God for taking from me the one thing I wanted most. Jesus was right there with me when the demon of addiction was pulling my husband into the pit of death and I cried out for him to be rescued. And even when I crawled through the dumpster to save my family a little bit of money, Jesus was with me and showed Himself with those books.
Just like the title of Oswald Chamber's famous devotion, Streams in the Desert, Jesus is the refreshing water in the dry places. He is the unlikely relief brought to the parched land. He is always with us even though we don't notice or recognize Him at first. Sometimes we have to get away from the situation a little bit or look back and remember and then realize the Lord was with the entire time.
Have you been in some dark places and you know the Lord was with you? Can you look back on a time you felt alone or desperate and see Him there now? Remember and write down the times the Lord showed up. Even though my dumpster days are long gone, days of desperation are sure to come again as long as I am on this planet. I will remember that God was with me, even in my lowest moments.