It’s that time of year when students turn junk into incredible outfits for the Junk Kouture design competition. Each year I’m amazed at what can be done with scrap. It seems students where I live in Donegal in Ireland have a real flair for this with last year’s winner coming from Donegal, and several schools through to the regional final this year.
It’s a great illustration of an important biblical truth: Redemption.
It’s a word from the slave market. A slave could be redeemed, set free from their old way of life. It’s what God did for his people Israel when they were slaves in Egypt: he rescued them from slavery. They were the lowest of the low to the Egyptians, but to God they were precious, like a son.
We are all slaves. We have a nature that is bent away from right and towards wrong. We are slaves to it—just try doing right for a whole day and you’ll see how much a slave to our natures we are!
But God provides a rescue from this slavery to sin, which would otherwise take us to hell. He sent his Son to be the ransom, the price paid, to redeem us. He frees those who trust him to free them.
But God’s redeeming, rescuing power doesn’t stop there. He takes those broken lives and he makes one-off pieces of designer art with them.
You might feel that your life is worthless, damaged, broken, or fit only for the scrap heap. But there is a God who sees you as precious; he would redeem you at great personal cost. And he would transform you.
We look in amazement at some of the Junk Kouture entries and see what they’ve actually used to create something beautiful. Nothing is wasted.
God wastes nothing. He doesn’t waste our pain. He doesn’t waste our circumstances. He doesn’t waste our tragedies. He wastes nothing, if we will trust him with it.
How do I know? Because on a rubbish dump outside Jerusalem, his Son was treated like a piece of rubbish; but those bleak and brutal circumstances were the very means through which he created the most beautiful thing in the world—salvation.
Before God says to us, “Trust me with your hurt and brokenness,” he says, “Watch to see what I make out of hurt and brokenness. I’ll show you first in my Son.”
Junk Kouture is impressive, but I see something even more impressive on a regular basis. I see God doing it for real with damaged, broken lives—redeeming them, restoring them, repurposing all their pain and hard circumstances into something beautiful. I can say from my own experience, and from watching him do it in the lives of others: He wastes nothing and he creates beauty when we trust him, and trust him with our lives.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine…
Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honoured, and I love you…” (Isaiah 43)