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A friend of mine lost her husband about 13 months ago. She’s slowly learning how to live without him a little bit more each day. To say that it’s not easy is like saying that the vast ocean is slightly damp.

If you’ve ever lost a loved one to death, you know that picking up the pieces of your life without them is an unexplainably difficult, challenging, and lonesome task. There’s no timetable. It’s different for everyone.

It’s a journey that seems to go on forever. And maybe in a way it does. We never stop loving the ones who are gone. Love never dies even though our hopes, plans and dreams with that person are gone. Yet, if we let him, the Lord can give us a new dream. With him, there is hope, but we have to allow him to tinker with our hearts and with our lives.

My friend’s husband was a tinkerer. He loved spending time in his garage fixing things. Tinkering with them until they were better than new. He had an old car that he tinkered with enough that it eventually became a classic. Unique and stylish, it was something you could be proud of. And he was. When the weather was nice he’d take it out for special rides and, of course, he always had his best girl by his side.

He also tinkered with my friend’s heart. When they first met, she was not looking for love at all. In fact, that was not in her realm of possibilities. Love? Nope. Friendship? Yes. Going out to eat? Sure. Doing things together? By all means. Safe companionship. Uncomplicated buddies. Status quo with another person along for the ride.

But he took her heart and tinkered with it. He fixed it, mended it, and made it better than new. Until one day she was shocked to realize that she was in love with the tinkerer. She was completely surprised. But he wasn’t. In fact, he was in love with her all along. He recognized classic love when he saw it.

I think of God as a tinkerer. He created each one of us. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13). He loves us with an everlasting love. “The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, 'I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness'" (Jeremiah 31:3). He wants the best for us. “'For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11).

As human beings, we stray. We go our own way. We make our own plans, organizing them very well. We even outline our plans with colored coded tabs. They look so pretty. The only problem is that our plans are often not God’s plans for us. He tinkers with us and tries to bring us back home to him, the Father of love.

Such incredible love the Father has for us. He sent his one and only son, Jesus, to earth to be the sacrifice for our sins on the cross. “For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

And he didn’t send Jesus to accuse us, even though we deserved that. No. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through him” (John 3:17).

Jesus died on the cross for each one of us. On the third day he rose from the dead. He’s in heaven with the Father preparing a place for each one of us who truly believes and has surrendered his/her life to the Lord. Many of us have loved ones who have already met the greatest tinkerer of them all, our heavenly Father.

May we all have that same assurance that when our time on earth is up that we have a heavenly home waiting for us for eternity. May we all say to the Great Tinkerer, “Fix me. Mend me. Make me brand new. Better than before.”

Kathy Yoder is a devotional writer. She may be reached at kathyyoder4@gmail.com.

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