“God is in the Compost Pile.” That’s a strange name for a Christian blog, isn’t it? Why would someone connect the wonderful name of Almighty God with a stinking pile of rotting plants and kitchen waste? I was asked that question recently, and if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I wrote a post about it last April. God takes the things in our lives that are dying, dead and decaying, and He recycles them to nourish new life. Look around and you’ll see countless examples. Here’s the best one of all: Jesus Christ gave up his life, with great suffering, so that our destinies could be recycled from certain hell to eternal life. We all go through times of personal hell, but if we can look beyond those bad times, the times that stink, it is possible to see Heaven.
In August, thousands of people prayed fervently for an 18-year-old kid named Josiah Berger who was injured in a one-car accident near Franklin, Tennessee. Twitter was alive with prayer requests and updates during the four days that Josiah lay in a coma on life-support at Vanderbilt Medical Center. Many of those praying were strangers. They’d never met Josiah Berger or his family, yet they were compelled to pray for this young man who lay near death in a hospital room in Tennessee. Hundreds of believers crowded the hospital and prayed for a miracle. So many people showed up at Vanderbilt that they had to be moved from the hospital lobby to an auditorium big enough to hold them all. Updates about Josiah’s condition were posted by the minute on Facebook and Twitter, and people all over the country, and perhaps all over the world, prayed asking God to spare this young man’s life. There was was hope, and even belief, that God was going to work a miracle. Josiah Berger would live! Everyone waited and watched for it to happen.
In spite of all the prayers, Josiah died of irreparable brain damage. And to make that even worse, he died on his 19th birthday, the day before he was set to leave for his freshman year in college. That stinks, doesn’t it? It smells just as bad as vegetation decaying in the compost heap. But the story doesn’t end there.
Josiah’s dad is Steve Berger, the senior pastor at Grace Chapel Church in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee. At Josiah’s “home going celebration,” Pastor Steve announced that his son’s decision to be an organ donor saved or improved the lives of 77 people. At the end of the forward-looking, music-filled service, Steve Berger did something very unconventional for a funeral. He offered an alter call. He asked mourners who wanted to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior to stand up. One hundred people did, many of them teenagers. One hundred more lives were saved that day because of Josiah Berger’s death. More than six-thousand people attended the funeral, 2000 in person and another nearly 5000 via a live stream on the Internet. One can only imagine how many silently bowed their heads and accepted Christ, or how many believers were motivated by Josiah’ story to lead others to the Lord.
After the service, Josiah’s dad said this: “I want people to know Jesus, and if somehow my son’s going to heaven can help them know Christ, then it’s all worth it. It’s all worth it. My son would bear the pain and I will bear the pain if just a regular old dad who loved his boy can see someone come to Christ because of his death. That means everything to me.” (Read more about it or watch the video below.)
[Note: This short video takes 10 seconds to load.]
So you see, God is in the compost pile. He’s not only in the good things, but also in everything that stinks in this world. The promise lies in His name and in that familiar scripture verse Romans 8:28: “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.”
Yes, God is in the compost pile and other ordinary places. I hope that through my blog (with its strange name) you’ll see God where you least expect Him. We travel difficult roads in our lives, but if we just trust Him, all those roads will lead to the one road where death is recycled to nourish new life. Take time this week to think about that….
Dear Heavenly Father, As I walk down lonely, difficult roads, help me to find the one that leads to you.