God Wastes Nothing
Bev Dracos

She would shake her head and say, “waste not, want not,” as she carefully ironed and folded the wax paper once wrapped around a loaf of homemade bread. She took the piece of string that tied the bread wrapper and put it around a dowel that hung in her kitchen. The scraps from breakfast went straight out to the compost…potato peelings, eggshells, and coffee grounds. According to my grandmother, everything had a purpose and could be reused. The shirt my grandfather tore while putting up fencing was cut and sewn into an apron for me. The buttons were removed and placed in the button box for future use.

This week I have been reminded that God wastes NOTHING! Compared to Him, my grandmother was a reckless spendthrift. One of the only advantages of being older is looking back and seeing how God uses everything in our lives. He will use the darkest moments, the worst hurts, all the pain, every tear, the detours, confusion, helplessness, and hopelessness when we give all that to Him.

“to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
 to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
 the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
 the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.

Isaiah 61:3

Yes, our God gives us beauty from ashes!

The Bible says that God bottles our tears. Psalm 56: 8 – You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? He knows our every sorrow. No tear is shed in vain. He knows, He sees, and He remembers. What an eloquent promise of His care for us!

I have known many people who have endured great suffering, and I am continually amazed at how God uses their pain to inspire and help others. He also uses them to be a witness for the Kingdom through the love and power of Christ.

My friend, Justina Page, is just such a person.

Justina and her husband, James, were living their dream life until tragedy struck. The Page family was forever changed in the early morning of March 7, 1999. That is when fire swept through their Houston home, killing her 22-month-old twin son, Amos, severely injuring the other twin, Benjamin, and leaving Justina with third-degree burns over 55 percent of her body.

So much loss. They lost their home, belongings, sense of safety and security, and the most devastating experience in life…they lost a child.

What’s left when it seems there is nothing left? Deep within was an ember of hope kept alive by what was left of her faith. With love and care from the medical community, church, family, and friends, Justina miraculously survived. She learned to use her hands again; she began to return to her life as “mama” to her family.

The scars are still there.

The pain of unspeakable loss is still there.

The difficulties left by physical & emotional trauma to all in the family are still there.

But the story doesn’t end here because God took it all and made certain that none of what the Page family experienced was wasted.

Justina is an incredible advocate for the burn community. She is the Founder and Director of a burn survivor non-profit. She is a voice for survivors and gives all honor and glory to her Savior, Jesus Christ. With James and her sons, Justina touches untold numbers of lives with hope and inspiration. Their family is a model of resiliency and faith.

The marriage not only survived but thrived. Justina and James now do a marriage podcast.

Justina does a podcast for those grieving the loss of a child.

She has encouraged others to move beyond their scars and disfigurement and to live out their dreams.

She is a best-selling author, an acclaimed international speaker, an actress, and a songwriter…there is seemingly no end to what she can accomplish as she walks by the spirit’s leading.

Look what God has done! Nothing was wasted. Now she is seeking to create a haven for burn survivor families who have a family member in the hospital for long-term treatment. God keeps going before her, making a way.

Most of us do not have a story like Justina’s. But take a close look at your life and see how God has used your pain, disappointments, suffering, and loss to touch others.

When you look in the eyes of another, can you see their hurt?

 Does your heart often hear emotions within someone’s silence?

Do you see the multitude of emotions that hide behind anger?

 If so, God is making use of your past pain. He wastes nothing. When we turn it all over to Him, He is faithful to His promises. He is for us.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” 
Romans 8:28