While I like to take things as they come and I am pretty even keeled about life it has been surprising how messy life can be. Most of the time we are so busy dealing with our own stuff that we don’t pay attention to what is really going on around us (depending on how you are wired of course). But lately it seems that there is this persistent, ongoing, messaging that keeps popping up in front of me about the mess and darkness of life.

Most of this comes by hearing about broken families, mostly divorces going on around us. We hear of it going on around us here, we here it going on back in Portland where we used to live. We hear it from friends and family. There is just a great deal of brokenness and survival seems to be our best food forward sometimes. When we get our lives messy because of our choices or we become the victims of other people’s choices the power of God and our walk with Christ sometimes gets more blurry than ever. Regardless if we are in the middle of something ourselves or we feel like we are spectators watching a complex melodrama of “sinking ships” all around us it can be discouraging and we wonder why we don’t experience the power of God more to prevent or solve some of this mess. The struggle is that people are in pain, they are drowning to solve their own issues…one would think this is a perfect opportunity for the power of God to shine, but often it seems hard to find.

My first thoughts are always of 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 where God announces to Paul that His power is (always) perfected in our weakness. But the problem is that when people are hurting and struggling the last thing that happens is relying and resting in the Lord. Often we thrash around even harder trying to fix our own issues and sometimes it is “hard” for God to change anything because (my opinion) He always wants to start with me in the change process.

Most of us want God to change something other than “me” – we want God to fix or help our spouse, boss, circumstances, kids, friends or whatever but rarely do we place ourselves in this spot where we say, “God what needs to happen in me first.” Most of us usually do not see ourselves as the problem so the focus is often typical. However, most of us are usually way too concerned about whom to blame or who messed this up to deep dive into grace to consider it all joy when we encounter various kinds of trials. God often desires to change my heart first before just “fixing” things so I can keep doing what I want to do.

The questions that I often ask people is “what do you think God is doing while you are going through this right now?” Many times I get a shrug of the shoulders and the “not sure” look. What is more discouraging is the helplessness that often accompanies such experiences that acknowledge God but often assume that nothing can be done. It is hard to connect with the Lord when life is messy but it is absolutely essential.

So my question to you is this: “What is God doing in the middle of the mess you are facing?” Is God concerned about me and my stuff? The answer is sometimes we don’t feel we know. But the right answer is Christ. He promised never to leave us or forsake us but we must embrace the reality that He is always in the journey with us.
Brad Little