In the Midst of the Mess
I have a confession to make: The past few months of my life have been one long string of crazy. It’s been like God swallowed my life, then coughed it back up in a tangled, icky mess.
Since I began writing The Chosen Son on July 1 (which is craziness in and of itself, might I add), my husband decided to leave his job and become an outside insurance salesman for another company. The new job, we quickly discovered, took such a toll on him he became physically sick every morning and increasingly distant at night. So after a few months there (and lots of tears and prayers), we decided to become full-time job searchers (aka unemployed). With rent to pay. And utilities. And groceries. And, in the midst of it all, we discovered our family had grown from three to four. Not to mention, we had already committed to pre-scheduled family reunions in San Francisco, Jacksonville, Key West, and the Bahamas (I know…woe is me, right?)
But truly, in the middle of it all, it was difficult to see God.
“God’s been awfully silent,” I’d sarcastically say in my weakest moments. “Where the heck is He?”
I half-expected Him to valiantly swoop down into our lives and fix everything with the flick of His finger. After all, He’s all-powerful, right? He could do it if He wanted. But apparently He didn’t want to.
And that made me furious.
Before this experience, I’d heard people say, “You know, I look back on my past and everything makes so much sense now.” Well, I just couldn’t possibly see how this would ever make sense. There was too much stress. Too much confusion. Too much uncertainty. And certainly too much fear.
It was just that: Too much.
And it went on that way for nearly two months.
“We just have to trust God,” one of us would say whenever the other was feeling defeated.
But why were we supposed to trust God?
I mean, it wasn’t like we just jumped on the insurance bandwagon on a whim. It took months of prayerful discernment to even reach that decision. We felt called to go that direction.
And that direction led us straight off a cliff.
In the thick of things, when panic and worry are the beginning and ending of every breath, the last thing you want to do is wait. The last thing you can do is trust someone else. Even when that someone is an all-powerful God.
At least, that’s how it was for me. I’m driven by doing. By being productive. By fixing my own problems and cleaning up my own messes.
I just sometimes fail to realize that prayer is the most powerful and productive thing I can do.
After all, I believe in a God who can speak the universe into existence. I believe in a God who parted the Red Sea to lead His people out of slavery. I believe in a God who could take one basket and feed 5,000 people. I believe in a God who laid down His life to conquer death. And I believe He’s on my side.
When I reminded myself just how powerful God has already proven Himself to be, I realized nothing has changed. Nothing is too big for Him, even if it feels too big for me.
You see, I believe in a God who walked up to a tomb of 4-day-dead man and demanded someone to roll away the stone out front.
“Don’t go in there,” Martha warned, pinching her nose (paraphrasing, of course). “It’ll be totally disgusting. Trust me, you don’t want to go into that mess. He’s been dead four days, for heaven’s sake!”
But Jesus simply asked again for someone to roll away the stone. He wasn’t afraid of mess. He wasn’t afraid to walk with Lazarus, even into some pretty filthy circumstances.
And when the stone was rolled back, exposing Lazarus to Himself, He took that mess and made it clean.
That’s what He did with my mess, too. In my brokenness and defeat, I turned away from myself and vulnerably exposed myself to Him. He walked into my tomb then, the place where I was slowly but surely dying. And He made me new.
He provided a job for my husband.
He provided the means to relocate to Texas to begin said job.
He provided a place to live.
He provided a tenant in our old place and a release from our previous contract.
He surrounded us with loving family and friends.
He provided us with a renewed sense of what it really means to trust Him.
I know I’m not the only one who has been living in a sticky situation. If you’re in a murky mess right now, there is an all-powerful God who isn’t afraid to go there with you. In fact, He’s already there, even if you don’t feel Him. What harm could come from exposing Him to your tomb and letting Him inside?
When was the last time He parted the sea in your life? When did He relieve you of a different weight and make your load lighter? When did He feed you when you were starving?
And what makes you think He won’t do it again?
In faith, as in life, there will be ups and downs. There will be days of triumph followed by stumbling. Then triumph once more. And, of course, more stumbling. But here’s the truth: Nothing ever grows on the mountain tops. Everything grows in the valleys.