Life sometimes feels like garbage. Guilt, pain, tragedy, depression, betrayal, sickness… we could go on far too easily. It's inevitable that at seasons in life, things will feel like a mess. It might be because of a mess we've made or because of the reality that life is messy. The most difficult thing about the times when our life feels like a garbage dump is that we can't picture anything beyond the trash that we are living in.
The message of the Gospel is one that speaks directly into our mess. The Gospel speaks the truth that God comes into the midst of our garbage and loves us anyway. The truth that your mess isn't too big for the cross. The Gospel speaks the truth that God not only cleans up the mess that you've caused, but he also promises to be with you in the mess of life. The truth that God will never leave you, no matter how bad it gets. And in the midst of all this mess, God promises to work.
"You make beautiful things. You make beautiful things out of the dust…. You make beautiful things out of us." - Gungor
There's an interesting story in the book of John where the disciples have a conversation with Jesus regarding a man born blind. It was common in that day to directly attribute something bad that happened as a consequence of the sin that someone committed. In this case the disciples were asking, "What did this guy or his parents do that was so bad that he ended up like this?"
We commonly ask this type of question when things go wrong. Why? Why me? Why them? Why, right now? Why this? The disciples' question isn't all that different than what we ask. We may not phrase it the same way as they did, but it is ultimately the same. The disciples wanted an explanation, and we often are looking for the same thing.
But Jesus doesn't answer their question.
Jesus doesn't give an answer to why the man was born blind. When we are in the midst of the trials of our own life, we often don't have an answer to the questions we ask. And perhaps what we need most is not an answer to these questions. Instead Jesus changes their focus. Instead of looking back, he encourages them to look forward. Instead of looking for an explanation, he shows them redemption. He shows them that God takes even the worst of situations and makes it new. He takes the blind man's situation and changes the discussion from "who sinned" to "how is God going work in this?"
In this case, Jesus works in the man's life by healing him. Even in the mess of our own lives God can create something beautiful. Even in the midst of pain, hurt, betrayal, and rebellion, God can redeem the most broken of situations and make something beautiful. It's easy to get so focused on the cause of our blindness that we become distracted from realizing that God has promised to work despite what we are experiencing. God has promised to be with us. God has promised to he would never leave us. God promises that he hears us. And that he forgives.
What messes have you been through that you've seen God work in?