We all know the best food is made from scratch. Fresh ingredients combined and cooked on the day you eat them and cooked to your taste. Cookies, straight from the oven, bread that has been kneaded and baked spread with butter while its still warm, pies, cakes, doughnuts, fritters, everyone has their favorite treats and we all know that they are best when they are made: from scratch.
Lots of heroes and heroines of the Bible started from scratch. Without visible resources or help, they accomplished great things for God’s people in the most meagre circumstances possible. Moses started from scratch with the people of Israel who were enslaved and powerless. Deborah started with ravaged empty grain fields and timid soldiers. David started with a misfit group of disgruntled warriors, ready to go off at any minute. Ezra and Nehemiah started with displaced exiles just trying to survive. Jesus started with twelve unlikely disciples. After Peter denied His Lord, he was sifted like wheat by the devil, and by God's power started over to encourage the brethren. Paul’s life as a leading Pharisee was ripped away on the road to Damascus, and he started life all over as a missionary. Lydia started a house church with a group of prayerful women who were struggling in ignorance. Jesus Christ started from being dead in a tomb, written off by followers and opponents, and He burst from that tomb in glorious resurrection power to change the world.
Why is God so enamored of starting from scratch? He created the world from scratch. After we sinned and corrupted God’s world, He saved us with His own Son. The Lord Jesus Christ, our second Adam, remade this world and saved us, starting from scratch. God brings His people through difficult circumstances, often putting us in the extremity of need, so that He gets our attention. Then God takes us through new vistas of His loving care, His miraculous solutions to our problems, and His calling on our lives to share in Kingdom building, starting from scratch.
Paul said, “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God Who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and to us.” II Corinthians 4:5-7
Starting from scratch: whether it is from our first encounter with the living Christ or if we find ourselves hit by circumstances that bring us down to a place of starting over, God always meets us there with resources and help that can only be from His hand. When we land at the bottom and begin again by faith, it is here that the surpassing power of God really shines in our lives. We become the clay jars holding the eternal treasure of the Gospel for all to see. So when you find yourself in what seems like a dry, barren place, remember that starting from scratch is God's favorite recipe for great things. Pray, and look around for the ingredients that He has surely placed there to help you, because your story will add to the many other inspiring grace stories where God started from scratch.
Elizabeth Stone, B.S. MDiv.