Trusting, even in the mess…

h

The world is feeling kind of dark and messy right now. The shootings in Connecticut continue to be on most people’s minds. Our hearts are filled with sorrow for the loss of life, for the hurt that has been perpetrated against people who did not deserve it. There are no easy answers about this situation. There is no way to heal quickly.

But I keep thinking about what Matt Chandler said at the Catalyst conference this year: “God works in the mess.” Please hear me: I am not say that God caused this mess, or wanted it to happen. I do not believe that God has any part in the violent and horrible death of children.

But I also do not believe that God is simply absent when things get ugly in our world. I believe God is present. I believe that God works in the mess.

I believe this because of the way that Jesus was born. It was…kind of a mess! Mary is unexpectedly pregnant and Joseph wants to break the engagement (because even those days, when your fiance becomes pregnant before you’ve slept with her, “Hey, it must have been the Holy Spirit!” is never your first thought).

This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.

As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:18-21 NLT

Joseph could have taken the easy way out. And I bet, even after the Angel came to him in a dream, there were times he wished he had. But instead, he chose to trust God. Even in the midst of this messy, socially awkward situation, he chose to trust God.

And he got to help raise up the savior of the world.

It’s not always easy to put our trust in God. Especially when everything seems like a total mess. But I think when we fail to do that – we miss out. We miss out on what God has planned, and His plans are always better than we could dream.

A little phrase…

Catalyst is a big conference. Thirteen thousand attendees. Twenty countries represented. I lost count of the number of laptops in the sound pit.

In just two days a massive amount of information is thrown at those of us who have gathered to take it in. One of my friends calls it “drinking from the fire hose” and he’s not wrong. There is so much to take in, that it is impossible to catch it all.

But even in the midst of all of that, each time I am there, I find I am struck by one little phrase that one of the speakers throws out. Often it’s not the main point of their talk. It’s just something that, for one reason or another rings in my ears and rolls around in my brain.

This year that little phrase comes from Matt Chandler. He said, “God works in the mess.”

And I thought – Thank God! Because life IS messy. It is unpredictable. None of us know what tomorrow will bring.

And that might be overwhelming.

Except that God works in the mess. And that means, no matter how messy the day, or the conversation or the meeting or the issue, God is at work in it.

David wrote these words in the midst of being hunted and living in caves to keep his enemies from finding him:

But I trust in you, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hands
Psalm 31:14-15a

He wrote this, I believe, because he understood this little phrase: God works in the mess.