Dear God, Bless This Mess!

Not so long ago two of our young grandkids from NC, Layla and Jackson, invaded our peaceful home. As soon as they touched down, we sprinted around the house to kid-proof the lower shelves. It was the first reality check of what was to come: teething cries, stinky diapers, scattered toys, peanut butter smears on white draperies, and piles of clothes and dishes. A week later, I was still pulling Cheerios out of the sofa. Meal time required a fire hose to clean up–well, not quite, but you get my point.

The day after the little messy ones left, Angela cleaned up, and our life returned to its normal, quiet, clean, predictable, and appropriately-organized household of empty-nesters. Gone were the shrieks and laughter, sweet sweaty hugs, and grape jelly kisses. I could once again read my books in peace—but no one pleaded for another bedtime story.
Life returned to normal,
but is it really natural?
In Florida, we lived in a 55+ neighborhood where the average age was closer to 70. All the grass was precisely cut to the standard two inches, cars were neatly parked in the garages, and street lights came on exactly at dusk. You could look in vain for a forgotten bicycle lying in the grass, a basketball hoop, or a teenager in a muscle car throttling the engine. It’s neat. It’s orderly. It’s quiet…but is it natural?
Seems to me real life is messy. I’m sure real people are messy. In fact, Jesus Himself came to get messy!
“And while they were there,
the time came for her
baby to be born.  
She gave birth to her
firstborn a Son.  
She wrapped Him in cloth
and she laid Him in a manger
because there was
no room for them in the Inn.  
(Luke 2:6-7)
God had a messy plan. A plan to save the world and, to do that, He was going to send His Son.  And where does the God of the universe send His Son?  Where does the King of kings and Lord of lords arrive?  In a barn, a stable, a manger, of all places.  It was certainly no place fit for a King; then again, this wasn’t any ordinary King.

Isaiah the prophet, some 400 years before Jesus was born, said, “All we like sheep have gone astray, each of us to our own way and He has laid our iniquities on Him” (Isaiah 53:6).


You see Jesus came to a messy world. Why? Because the Great Shepherd was coming to take care of messy sheep and to prepare a way for them to go home.  


That’s what a shepherd does.  He lives where the sheep are.  He eats where they eat and sleeps where they sleep. That got Jesus in trouble.  Why did Jesus eat with sinners?  Because that’s what a shepherd does.


In fact, later on the Apostle Paul would write, “Have the same attitude of Christ Jesus, although He was the very nature of God, He did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but He made Himself nothing, becoming a servant being made in human likeness” (Phil. 2:5-7).


You see, being a servant is messy, and Jesus set this incredible example for us.  He got down on His knees, and He washed feet!  The God of the Universe, who deserved the best of everything, got down on His knees. Why? Because He was following a messy plan.

In Luke 8, Jesus meets a woman who was subject to bleeding for 12 years. This was a medical issue and a social issue. To everyone in the community, this woman was considered ceremonially unclean and beyond healing. She was an outcast in need of a savior.


The woman sought out Jesus believing He alone could heal her. Despite the uncleanliness caused by her disorder, and the stigma that accompanied her very person, the woman had faith that Jesus would care for her, and she was healed just by touching the edge of His cloak. Afterward, Jesus called her “daughter” and tells her to “go in peace.”

No amount of messiness in our lives is too much for Jesus to clean.

We don’t have to clean ourselves up before we can come to Him. We come to Him because we can’tdo it on our own! Our faith in Jesus’ ability to heal us is what will bring us peace.
There’s a story told of a preacher who was preaching a message about the fact that no one is perfect. To prove his point, he asked for anyone who was perfect to stand up. One man stood up in the middle of the congregation.
The preacher asked him, “Do you really think you are perfect?” The man replied, “Oh no! I’m not perfect. I’m standing up on behalf of my wife’s first husband!”

Let’s face it. The real world and real life are inevitably messy. Messy is normal. If we are going to make an impact, we need to be willing to get messy just like Jesus. In fact, maybe a messy church full of messy people is a sign of real life! What do you think?



Pastor Steven