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TITLE: The Ketchup Incident
By Betsy Tacchella
10/30/05
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As I started out the back door to empty the garbage, the sleeve of my bathrobe caught on the doorknob of the screen. It was just enough to jerk the bag out of my hand and send it tumbling to the floor with a clunk. The ketchup bottle which had been laying so peacefully on top of the bag landed with a large crash followed by slivers of glass everywhere. Barely any part of the garage was spared this infusion of glass particles and globs of the remaining ketchup.

My first response was a groan with “Oh what a mess!” After my initial frustration my next thought was “In everything give thanks….” (I Thess. 5:18) UGH! But...I decided to try it. If God wanted me to thank Him in all things, this was an opportunity to see what would happen. What I discovered was that as my attitude changed to one of thanks, I became expectant of what God had planned to teach me from this small inconvenience. I somehow felt like I was cooperating with God in a project.

I have come to know that God has lessons for me in all of life’s snags. As I looked around the mess before me and added it to the cluttered, unkempt appearance of the garage in general, I suddenly realized that I now had the opportunity to clean the garage...a job I had been putting off for weeks. So I went about gathering the broom and dust pan and swept out a seasons worth of dirt, leaves, and whatever else manages to collect on a garage floor. I soon found myself not only sweeping the garage, but also the driveway and porch and then on to gathering the fallen pine needles from the winter droppings in the yard.

Upon finishing my chores, I began to reflect on a larger picture of this small incident. God has a plan in all that happens to us. Sometimes we enter His plan or his chain of events for our lives by way of calamity, suffering, or illness. Life can be going along smoothly when suddenly a ketchup bottle smashes to the floor, a time of turmoil or strife comes our way. I wonder in my finite mind if perhaps He is saying, I have a larger plan for you but in order to assure that the chain of events leading to the culmination of this plan take place, you must go this route. There are many blessings along the way and there will be a refining of your character. But it must start out with this seemingly uncomfortable situation. I know that in your way of doing things my plan would never be accomplished and I love you so much that I have chosen this route to assure you of your continued drawing near to me and depending on me.

Jer. 29:11 states “For I know the plans that I have for you declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.” So when God allows certain things to come into our lives we can be sure they are stepping stones for our welfare, to help us gear our lives more toward God and the hope He gives us. His desire is that we dwell securely in His righteousness. He will use the circumstances and situations in our lives to draw us. So as the ketchup incident was used to draw me to thankfulness and to encourage me to clean a sadly neglected garage, so God uses all circumstances and incidents to further our growth and development in Him.
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