Grateful for Manure

Can you imagine being grateful for manure?

My pastor* expanded on the story from Luke 13 about the fig tree that wasn’t producing fruit. The owner told the caretaker to cut it down. “It’s useless and not performing. Get rid of it.” The caretaker convinced the owner to let him work with it, fertilize it, and give the tree a second chance. Eventually, it produced fruit and was allowed to live.

But have you ever looked at the initial situation from the fig tree’s view? Sitting before him was a saw, an axe, and other tools to mutilate and kill it. And beside those was a pile of manure. What a choice! Either endure death or be buried in poop.

That’s what our lives can seem like. We find ourselves in a situation where we have no hope for the future. Everything we see looks dismal and depressing, like there’s no way out. Instead, God allows the manure to pile up around us. Not exactly the best place to be, and less than aromatic. He’s planning something rich and wonderful, but it doesn’t smell like it to us

I’ve had lots of manure in my life. Maybe you have, too. When we’re surrounded by lots of stinky stuff, it’s hard to believe God has a great plan for us. We tend to look only one step ahead and have trouble trusting Him to lead us over the piles of manure.

When my husband was dying of cancer, it seemed like that manure would be impossible to overcome. What good could come from that? I saw nothing positive about my future.

But now, years later, I see that God really did use everything for my good. I never would have become an author, helping hundreds dealing with cancer or wanting to get their own books published.

It took a long time, but eventually, I was able to thank God for the time I had with Bryan and not be angry about the time we didn’t have. Now, I can be grateful for the manure.

How about you? Have you stepped over or around piles of manure in your life? Can you now see how that fertilizer helped other things to grow in you or in your life?

Maybe you’re in the midst of the smelly stuff. It may be hard for you now, but try to look past the manure and see the possibilities for tomorrow. You can be grateful that the manure will make things better.

Manure can be a good thing. Just don’t inhale.

And remember to be grateful for whatever piles up, no matter how it stinks.


*The fig tree story was from an email sent by Nathan Harrison, senior pastor of West Bowles Community Church in Littleton, CO.