If I asked you to describe your life right now, how would you respond? Would you include any of these words: difficult, overwhelming, disappointing, mysterious, painful, answerless, frustrating? If so, I so get it. But do you realize that amidst our mess God has blessings for us?
The Lord showed me this one morning as I drove to work after completing a 3 day fabulous, but exhausting, conference (the biggest leadership event we host). Several things had occurred during those 3 days that weren’t part of the plan, so the stress of coordinating and hosting this conference grew beyond my expectation.
During the conference, my mother (who had dementia) had been taken the hospital. My daughter was trying to reach me as I was on the platform speaking. So as I came off the platform at the end of that session, I was greeted by my director telling me about my mom. After talking to my daughter, we decided I’d finish the day and go to the hospital that evening after hosting our guest speakers at dinner.
Arriving at the restaurant where our ministry assistant had made reservations, my hope was that we would eat quickly and I would head home. Until we were seated, I had no idea this restaurant didn’t provide menus and was $100 per person! Not in our budget allotment for meals!! A mistake for sure, but nothing I could do but smile through a meal I could hardly eat. When you eat at a place like this, you DO NOT rush through a meal. So my frustration (and concern over the tab) added to my anxiety. Finally before dessert, I paid the bill and left the others to enjoy the end of the meal without me.
To say I was overwhelmed would be putting it mildly for sure. At the same time the blessings were falling all over us as we saw God work through the conference.
So as I headed to the hospital at the end of the conference before returning to the office to catch up, the Lord gave me a beautiful visual of his presence.
This photo was not what I saw that morning but conveys the same principle. This one was taken last fall at the Gulf Coast of Florida. You see both sunlight and rain amidst the clouds. What I actually saw that morning driving to work was a huge black cloud, though only a few were in the sky that morning. But what got my attention were the huge rays of the sun shining brightly gold from behind that dark cloud.
All I could do was praise and thank God that He made it very clear to me His presence was behind the difficult messy present situation of exhaustion from the conference and concern for my sweet mom. Although I had no idea how things would turn out, I was assured by the truth that reminded me of His involvement in every aspect of my life. And in His power to give strength to face it and redemption through it no matter how messy it was.
In Deuteronomy 31:6 Moses is speaking to Joshua and the Israelites just before they would cross over a flood stage Jordan River and enter the Promised Land. Before them were battles for them to fight. But they would fight in God’s power not their own. “Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For the Lord your God is the one who will go with you; he will not leave you or abandon you.”
In the New Testament we see this idea again and although this verse is addressing the love of money as well as other biblical guidelines to follow, I believe the principle is for anything that causes us to take our eyes off Jesus. “Keep your life free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for he himself has said, I will never leave you or abandon you. Therefore, we may boldly say,The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)
So, once again, how messy is your current situation?
As you can see on the sweet face of this little girl, she’s a mess, but she has joy. Jesus is our only hope to face the reality of life, both the joys and the pain, as we walk out our earthly journeys.
Let me leave you with six practical tips to help you in this messy journey:
- Ask God to show you how to find His blessings among the messiness.
- Stay in His Word seeking, asking for truths to encourage you to know Him and follow Him.
- Trust God’s perfect love and His sovereignty in your mess.
- Speak His words of truth when the enemy throws those darts of doubt into the mess.
- Ask Him to show you how to know Him even more as you journey through your current mess.
- Use your journey to encourage another in their mess.
If you allow Him, God will use your faithfulness and your pain to minister to another who is in a mess. Will you allow Him to do the work? Will you trust Him no matter what? Will you share your story? That will add another blessing amidst the mess!