In his 1983 book, “Loving God,” Charles Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship, said this:
“Life isn’t like a book. Life isn’t logical or sensible or orderly. Life is a mess most of the time. And theology must be lived out in the midst of that mess.”
Forgive my grammar, but ain’t that the truth? I’m thinking that Mr. Colson had a good idea what he was talking about, too. Prior to his conversion to Christianity, he served as special counsel to President Nixon and was known as one of Nixon’s “hatchet men,” all wrapped up in the Watergate Scandal, one of the largest political scandals in our nation’s history. Yes, Mr. Colson knew all about messes.
I do, too! I constantly am joking, “I’m such a hot mess!” or “My kids are such a hot mess!”, and of course, “My husband is a giant, hot mess!” We mess up, all the time. Things such as our emotions running high (or hormones), getting angry over little things, overstretched schedules with short fused patience, hurtful words in the heat of a moment, etc., all lead to Chaos, King of Mess, reigning supreme over my home and my family, and I’m guessing, yours as well. How can we kick him out?
Mr. Colson has the right idea. Despite the mess, we have to remember who’s really in charge of our home because it sure isn’t King Chaos as much as Satan wants to convince us otherwise. God tells us in Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.” He’s there in the trouble. In fact, Ecclesiastes 7:14 says, “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.” So, what’s the purpose of the trouble, of the mess? To test and strengthen us, to draw us closer to Him, to deepen our faith: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:2-6.
Looking at our mess, it can look like the Bad Lands of South Dakota, pictured above: dry, bumpy, full of hills and valleys, not much to find joy in. However, out of frame, the Bad Lands, despite everything messy I just described about them, you can find pockets of joy: beautiful flowers, rock formations that turn amazing colors when the light hits them just right, vibrant wildlife and more. You just have to look beyond the mess to find the good stuff. Look at this beautiful picture of the same Bad Lands area.
This week, as a mess arises, and it will, don’t forget to drop to your knees and pray, “Okay, Lord, what’s this about? What is it you want me to learn? What is it my family needs to work on? What joy am I to find in this mess?” In spite of the mess and chaos, choose to find joy or, as James tells us, find what wisdom there is to be found.
Remember, He has your back!