Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Into the Mess

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. John 1:14

A temper tantrum from my son… misunderstanding and unpleasant words with my husband: Tension and frustration filled the house, a far cry from the fruits of the spirit that should fill our lives. It felt especially bad one Sunday morning as we headed to worship. Obviously the tension hadn’t eased as I sat down by my husband with his hard face and crossed arms after getting Peter to his class.

Conversations ran through my head from the morning, accusations, justifications, all ugliness. I looked over the stunning set on stage for the Christmas season. As the band began the first song, What Child is This, I purposed to let go of the morning and just immerse myself in the music. The singers began the next song, a call to worship. Dramatic affects with lighting, colors, and music enhanced the power of the words, an invitation to worship the Babe, our Savior.

My spirit soared and soon the message of the words forced my hands skyward. God so deserved our worship! Hypocrite! A voice sounded in my head. I wonder what Jeff thinks of you with your hands raised all high and mighty after the morning you guys had.

True, I answered back. But I’m not here for him, and this isn’t about me. This is about God and his majesty and his gift and what he has done…. Not about me or Jeff or anyone else. God deserves all worship, even from someone like me.

After the service, we collected Peter and headed home, the car still filled with tension and tight words. Again, the voice sounded. A lot of good that did. 2 hours in church and nothing’s changed.

But the truth of the sermon that day shouted back in answer. God came into our mess of humanity to save us. He will walk with me anywhere! In the silence of the drive home I prayed, Thank you Lord for being willing to come into our messes. You who are perfect and more glorious than we can fathom did not wait for our perfection. You chose to set aside your great glory and came to our messy planet filled with messy relationships and you lived among us-mess and all. You came into our mess so that now in our messes we can come to you. Thank you for invading our world, our lives and our hearts so that no barrier remains. Thank you for being willing to get messy.

I wish I could say we quickly got things resolved, but that didn’t happen. Frustrations continued past the holiday and into the coming weeks. The challenges of Peter’s increased decline and our struggle to adapt weighed heavy on each of us. I continued to struggle in my faith and perspective. How easily we feel distance from God when difficulties manifest, even though He promises we are never alone.

Then one January afternoon, within 3 weeks of that Christmas message, I was outside when I saw a heron fly down our street and land in the cul-de-sac intersection just 2 houses from my own. I stood transfixed as I watched it. Then a car drove through and the heron flew up the street and stopped right on the corner of our lot. Suddenly, I started to cry.

The heron, as you’ve read, is my special symbol from God of his presence and faithfulness in my troublesome life. As I stood there watching the beautiful bird, I wept because in the midst of my pain, as I struggled to seek God because of my hurt, he instead came to me. Confirming the Christmas message, the heron was a picture of God’s truth. The heron came to my house. I didn’t go looking for him. He found me. Likewise, even when I couldn’t look for God because of my mess, he came to me. Just like at Christmas when he came into the mess of mankind, God confirmed he was still present in MY mess.

I pray that you will grab hold of the truth pictured in this event. God is with you, right in your mess. I pray you will feel his presence today and know you are not alone.

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