No matter how many times in our lives we’ve been told to clean our rooms, or to print more neatly, or to straighten up our desks, there is no escaping that life has an uncanny way of getting messy…very quickly.
Our inadequate attempts to keep things organized and tidy does very little to guard against others catching a glimpse of the dirt our life produces. Our images are fragile and senstive to the scrutiny of others. The authenticity of our messiness being revealed is a scary thing indeed. Ringing in our ears and echoing in our hearts is the message that we are inadequate, flawed, and failing. Messes make us feel undignified.
However, the biblical record comforts us with the repeated truth that Jesus isn’t put off by messes. In point of fact, He enters the messy place and confronts it with His beauty, truth, and goodness.
How do I know Jesus looks at messes as opportunities?
When the blind man couldn’t see, Jesus uses mud to heal him.
When a scrupulous tax collector needed a friend, Jesus endures the ding in his social status to honor Zaccheaus over a shared meal.
When lepers need wholeness, Jesus overlooks the pus and ooze and touches them.
When His disciples need to be healed of entrenched pride, Jesus lowers Himself to wash their dirty, stinky feet.
When the curse of sin and death had reach its days of fulfillment, Jesus hung exposed for all to see on a cross covered in the dust of the Via Dolorosa and His own blood.
With Jesus, messes become a means for the exhibition of His mission. Out of the mess, Jesus restores dignity. Out of the grime we encounter glimpses of God’s glory.
Might it be that in our attempt to avoid the messy places–those difficult conversations, the hard truths to face or to confess, the professment of a weakness–that we are missing an opportunity for Christ to demonstrate His power of transformation?
Jesus is well-acquainted with messes bigger than the one you are facing. Invite Him in. Watch Him work.