If you haven’t seen the movie “The Brave Little Toaster”, you are missing out! It is a charming little movie made in the late 80’s about a house full of appliances, who set out to the big city to find their master after he has rudely abandoned them in his summer cabin. It is more than a children’s movie. It’s insightful, witty, and filled with a variety of personalities who face challenges such as how to get their “juice” out in the woods where there are no electrical outlets. I love it.
Why am I talking about this movie? Well, it came to mind a couple of weeks ago when I was deep cleaning my kitchen. I was shining up my toaster which is part of my typical weekly cleaning. It was clean, and white, and sparkling as you can see in this photo because I regularly windex it.
Because I was deep cleaning and not just surface cleaning, I took a peek inside my toaster and saw some crumbs and what I thought was a little mess.
So, I took it to the trash bag I had going, turned it upside down and shook it. What I thought was a little mess, was actually a huge mess. Out came more crumbs and remnants of burnt toast, bagels, and english muffins than I knew could even fit in that little toaster.
Look at this mess!
It came to me, that this was kind of a visual of how I’ve felt at times in my life. Things on the outside are pretty together, pretty clean, and I knew there was some messiness to deal with, but nothing too terrible, right? I wasn’t intentionally ignoring the mess, I just didn’t see what was really there until I was turned upside down and shaken like my toaster. That line of thinking for me changed when I faced a crisis. My brother died of cancer 2 years ago. I had believed God for a miracle. I had stood on the Word of God, prayed, and built my faith around my belief that he would be healed. But, he died. I went on a journey after that happened that showed me what a mess I really am, what comes out when you turn me upside down and shake me. I had experienced some measures of brokenness in life, but nothing of this magnitude. Nothing that brought me to the brink of disaster like this. What would I believe now, what would I do with this, it didn’t add up. My faith had been built, and built, and built, and then it all came crashing down. I didn’t want to feel this way, but the thoughts and feelings were there anyways. I felt abandoned, rejected, and let down by God. But, I had a choice on what to with it. Was I going to bottle it up? Leave the crumbs and nastiness inside, or give even those things to God.
He spoke this verse to me soon after I faced my faith crisis, and it set the tone for how God and I would handle it together:
“keep on putting into practice all you learned and received from me–everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:9
So that’s what I did. I chose to continue to trust in, act on, and keep the conversation open and moving in my relationship with God. It took a while for my feelings to catch up, because I didn’t always feel anything. Sometimes I felt nothing at all. But God has faithfully put me back together again. And though my faith will not be completed until I see Him in heaven, and will face new challenges and trials in the future, I am thankful that He is merciful, strong, and has built in me a new faith that is more genuine, real, and honest than ever before. A faith not built on confidence that God will do what I want Him to do, but that God will carry me through anything I face if I’ll let Him. Faith that He is molding me more and more into His own character. And faith that trusts Him even when things are terrible and He isn’t doing what I want. (As if I know better than He!) I would have never thought of my faith as being that way before, but that’s the ugly truth I later came to realize. He shaved away my self-reliance, and has been teaching me how to truly rely on Him.
What does this have to do with my toaster and all of the crumbs inside? We are all messes walking around. There are broken, burnt fragments lying around in there that we have to let God continually remove and clean out so that we can continue to produce beautiful “toast” in our lives. There is no sense hiding them from Him- He made us and knows they are there! He just wants us to be willing to let Him shine His light in those places, and let His truth and redemption clean up the mess. He exposes those things in us, not to shame and ridicule us, but so we’ll see our need for Him, and let Him heal us.
Be a Brave Little Toaster. Get real with God. Be honest with Him even when it’s ugly. Let Him clean up the broken fragments in you. It happens in a relationship, one crumb at a time. And as you do, know how much He loves you, has plans for you, and wants you to be free to carry out those plans.
“The Eternal God is your refuge, and His everlasting arms are under you.” Deuteronomy 33:27