A gift I received for Christmas has shaped my New Year’s resolution. And no, my husband wasn’t foolish enough to buy me any sort of exercising equipment for my present. My one and only resolution for 2014 originates from a simple gold necklace.
In the flurry of Christmas, I almost missed the significance of what I had received. My husband and I were on an eight day trip which took us from Montana to Kansas with 20 plus hours in the car, 3 hours on airplanes, and 6 hours of mindless waiting in airports, and 2 winter storms.
But somehow through all of this activity, I had time to ponder the story behind this necklace. (Click here to see the store where you can purchase the necklace.) The necklace comes from Ethiopia, where women have picked up bullets that are littered around them. They melt these bullets down and refashion them into a piece of beauty.
It took awhile for this to soak into my travel-worn brain. But once it did, I can’t shake the implications this brings to me.
The first lesson I learned from this necklace is how God fashions us into something beautiful. He could regard us as garbage, used up, and hopeless. But instead He scoops us up with gentleness like a priceless treasure and ever so slowly, ever so carefully, shapes us into something beautiful. And, just like the bullets are melted down, so we go through fire to bring forth the beauty that God sees in each and every one of us.
But the second lesson is my resolution for 2014. These women in Ethiopia took something that caused great suffering and made something good out of it. Can you imagine picking up the bullet that killed your husband, child, or parents, and using it to bring value to your life? The very item that ripped their world apart now becomes the instrument of hope. Through the sales of the jewelry they can make, these women are able to provide for their remaining family. They have employment that is dignified and purposeful. They are using what was meant for evil and turning it around for good.
Sounds a bit like Joseph, doesn’t it? Despite all the heartache and pain caused by his brothers’ actions, Joseph leaned on God as he went from the favored son to the despised slave. In the end, when he faces his brothers as second only to the Pharaoh of Egypt, he says “you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”
You meant it for evil. But God meant it for good.
Those bullets that ripped families apart were meant for evil. But just maybe if we can allow God to work in our lives, we can see that God meant it for good. Of course, we wish it never happened. But it did, and there is a better response, and a far more powerful one, than hate and more violence.
Take what was meant for evil and allow God to use it for good.
Instead of a cycle of hate, do something that brings hope. Use the evil to fashion beauty.
My resolution for 2014 is to follow the example of these women. I resolve to find a way to take what is bad in my life, find the good that God meant it to be, and bring hope to this world.
Who’s with me?
Please check out My Fight at http://www.myfight.org/ where you can purchase similar items. I am by no means connected to them and will not receive anything from their sales.