Meet God in the Middle of Your Mess
by Stacey Thacker
I loved watching Charlie Brown when I was growing up. They taught us about life and relationships in simple comic strip form. Do you know which character made me crazy? No, it isn’t Lucy in all her bossiness. I have a whole lot of her in me. The character I’m referring to is Pig Pen. Do you remember him and his perpetual cloud of dust? It seemed to me that he was comfortable with his mess. In fact, everyone else thought so too. Do you realize that no one ever commented about his appearance? Maybe it was because they were accepting him as he was. Kids do that. But maybe it was because they thought, “Why bother?”
Do you ever wonder why God bothers with us? Wouldn’t it just be easier if he looked the other way or shoved us in his heavenly junk drawer and saved our sorting out for a rainy day? Or better yet, why doesn’t he use someone who has it together far more than we do? There is always someone prettier, skinnier, and more together than me. Surely, that mom is available. She probably even has an app on her phone that keeps her mess in check.
Not me. I think if it is possible I’ve grown in my messiness over the years. I remember as a kid being mortified if one Barbie shoe was out of place. I only turned in neat papers and I always went above and beyond the call. But lately, I can’t get my mess together. Oh, at times I still act like I have it all together, like Lucy. But I feel more and more like Pig Pen. The mess swirling around me this week looks like a disastrous start to potty training my fourth daughter, too much fast food for my family, and a pending war in my living room between my dishes and laundry if I don’t start peace talks soon.
What is worse than all of this is the mess that has taken up residence in my heart. It is big I tell you. I don’t like who or what has moved into this space. I can’t even imagine why God in all his glory would choose to reside there for more than ten seconds.
Oh but for grace! His great big huge How Great Thou Art grace pours over me the moment I feel like I am a lost cause and he reminds me who he is.
Jesus wants to meet us in the middle of our mess, too. He wants to do a work in us and then through us. He isn’t going to settle for just cleaning up our circumstances. We know he can do that in a heartbeat and sometimes he does. I like how the Message version of the Bible affirms this in Ephesians 3:20-21:
God can do anything, you know―far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
Did you catch that? His plan is to do far more than we can imagine. He does it by working within us. He wants to teach us about his character and reveal his heart for us. He wants to whisper in our ears, Hope is here. And in the process he changes more than our mess―he changes us. What a glorious promise that is for our hearts today!
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