He's not finished with me yet...

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
~ Jeremiah 29:11

I got the bad cart today.

You’ve had it, too—the one at the grocery store that has the not-completely-round wheel, or the one with wads of gum permanently caught up in it, or the rubber is halfway flapping off.

It’s noisy; it pushes awkwardly; and you wonder, “Why don’t they retire this cart already?!!!”

About the third aisle, I wondered if it would be worth it to trade in for a new cart. But it was about that time I got distracted—I’d forgotten to put on an important piece of my grocery store ensemble before I left the house! –my baseball cap to hide the sticking-out, post-sleeping hairstyle I was sporting. Major gaffe in my grocery store costume. Do I turn back now? Or press forward?

Because I’m always competing to win the elusive Efficiency Award (especially when it comes to shopping), I knew I’d have to advance on, and think up a great line for why I was looking so fine this morning, pushing this rickety grocery cart obviously in need of attention. Nothing to see here, people. Move along.

Push faster to get through the store quicker? That just sped up the clickity-clackity sound to double-time, drawing more attention. Go slower to reduce the noise? Then it would take me twice as long to get out of there.

This is probably the part of the story where I should say, “Then you’ll never guess who I ran into?” Sorry. I guess God didn’t have anybody planted at Southern Family Markets today that needed a laugh, so I exited the store with no run-ins.

Back in the car, the first song I heard on the radio was (I promise)— “...there is hope for me yet....” I had to laugh out loud. “...He’s not finished with me yet...

Thank God.

If He handled me like I wanted to handle that shopping cart,
(a) I would have already received my heavenly reward in sweet eternal retirement, or
(b) He would be leaning heavily on me to one side to reduce the imbalance of my brokenness on the other side (I discovered that method in the parking lot—so there was a way to reduce the sound!).

But thankfully God doesn’t look at us as equipment to be trashed when a piece breaks down, or put awkward maneuvers on us to disguise our ugliness. He just keeps on using us, putting the groceries in and out, NOT muttering under his breath about how we look or sound, but instead singing and smiling over us all the while.

Driving home, I saw the white “Limestone Correctional Facility” bus and about a dozen prisoners in fluorescent yellow vests picking up trash from the side of the road. The song on the radio by then? “...I’ve been set free...” Really.

But that’s a story for another day. Instead, I’ll direct you to a great little video that I saw when I got back home. It’s been a weird day... You’ll understand when you watch it. God has plans for all of us, broken or smooth, bad hair or beautiful.

He's not finished with us yet...

Watch Johnny's story in "The Simple Truths of Service."


Lisa writes... said...

I'll never push a bum grocery cart the same way again!

Lynn Severance said...

Lisa, I loved the video of Johnny's story. It has a parallel to a real story in the Seattle area. A grocery clerk at one of the grocery stores was born with the "elephant man" disease. His face is so misshapen but his spirits so strong and friendly that many customers came to love him. It was discovered that he had no medical insurance and had given thoughts to having surgery to repair this condition. So, word went out and...yes, you guessed right! Money came in, bills will be paid and he has begun the steps towards getting the medical attention this condition requires. It has been a story that has captured the hearts of the folks watching it unfold. However, the heart of the man involved is the true story. Thanks for the posting!

Deanna said...

What a great story and moving video! Thanks for sharing.

Jenna said...

Wow! That was VERY encouraging!

danielle said...

that was a good story. Sounds like a great day with God. I love when He shows you something continuous throughout the day like that. I'm gonna watch the video when I'm out of class....no sound allowed right now ha.

Lisa notes... said...

Meet James O'Neal.

He's the grocery clerk that Lynn referred to in her comment above. I looked up his story--what an inspiration he and his community are!


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