I wrote this when we lived in the apartment, but I am just now sharing it. It wasn’t that long ago though, so I’ll just leave the words as they were originally written.
It feels offensive to even type that title. I am not in anyway trying to imply that my precious Savior belongs in the garbage. It’s an amazing paradox though. To think about how our awesome creator can be so holy, so sovereign and royal, and yet He sent His Son to come down to where we are and meet humanity in the depths of their desperation. How often did the Pharisees disapprove of who Christ was hanging out with or where he was hanging out because it seemed unclean to them? This has been on my mind a lot lately.
We live in an apartment where some of our neighbors are abusive alcoholics, drug addicts, and thieves living in poverty. Our other neighbors are just normal clean-cut people like us. It’s probably just like your neighborhood really. Except people here don’t pretend as much. There is no dressing it up.
We live in a big complex and our building happens to be closest to the dumpster. It’s convenient actually. Whenever the trash can is full I don’t have to far to go to dispose of it. Plus my kids love it when they can catch a glimpse of the enormous trash truck that picks up the larger than life Rumpke bins. They watch in amazement as the robotic vehicle hoists each metal box up in the air to dump out all of it junk and smash it down into bits.
I’m thankful for the dumpsters. Of all the things I won’t miss about being in this place I’m going to miss the dumpster. I know that sounds strange. It’s ugly and it’s smelly, but God has used it to provide for our family in ways that are actually quite miraculous. I shared the story on Facebook the other day about how I had sorted through a bunch of clutter in my room and had separated what was left into three bags. I wanted a better storage system for my scarves, gloves, and winter hats, but I couldn’t come up with anything so I just put the items into plastic bags for the time.
Later that night I saw these three bins sitting outside of one of the dumpsters. Two of them still had tags on them! Stuff like that isn’t that uncommon for me. I really can’t remember all of the items I have found, but some things include Christmas decorations like this mat that I found at Christmas time when we didn’t have anything to decorate with. It certainly brought Holiday cheer to the kids faces each time they came home.
And then there is the umbrella stroller we have gotten so much use out of.
That’s not even half of it. Most of the time the decent stuff is left outside of the dumpster, but every once in a while it’s actually inside, but sitting on top of the trash with a bunch of other home goods. For those worried about germs a little scrub down and some lysol is all you need and I have never taken anything that looked nasty or that was worthless to me.
My friends have questioned me on why there is so much “nice” trash around and my theory is that some people are evicted or move in a hurry and when the clean up crew comes through they just throw everything out. Maybe some people purposefully leave stuff outside of the dumpster knowing that their trash will be a treasure picked up by someone else?
You can try to explain it however you want, but the fact of the matter is I have collected a lot of useful things out of those dumpsters and I share this story as a testimony. In one of our lowest times God has provided in the most unlikely of ways. Even just little things. Why wouldn’t he? I mean when you think about some of the miracles in the Bible with pulling coins out of a fishes mouth, or spitting in the mud and putting it on a blind man’s eye? Yuck.
Maybe God wants you to step out of your comfort zone and get a little bit dirty this week. Not just to do it for the heck of it, but out of obedience. Perhaps He wants you to seek him in some of those dark and smelly places where you usually don’t venture. It could be physical or it could be totally spiritual. I have no idea, but I do know that sometimes we miss out on the blessing because we are in our clean safe holy place. I am not convinced we need to stay there.
In your own way and by His leading I challenge you to look for God in the dumpster.