In The Midst of the Mess
“Bless the Lord, all his works, and in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul. Psalm 103:22
Bishop Jon Anderson, of the Southwestern Minnesota Synod, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, often asks the following question when meeting with a group: “What is the sweetest thing God is up to in your context?” It’s a good question because it prompts people to consider God’s activity in the midst of what we sometimes believe is mundane and ordinary. This question helps stretch the imagination and look into the ordinary to see God doing the extraordinary.
On an occasion or two, I have borrowed this question and given it my own little tweak. When I meet with small groups of people or on a one on one basis, I like to ask, “Where is God in the midst of the mess?” I ask this question, because lets face it, life is messy. But I also ask it because I have experienced that in the “midst of the mess” is often where God does his best work. The bible sure seems to prove that true, one only needs to look at how God deals with broken people, to seek god in the midst of the mess. For instance, as Jacob is venturing back home to hopefully be reconciled with his brother Esau, he tackled by an angel of God and wrestles with him until the break of day. When it appears that the match is a stalemate, Jacob seeks a blessing and the man gives him a blessing and a new name, Israel (God wrestler) because he has struggled with humans and God and has overcome.
At times in the midst of the mess, life seems like a wrestling match. Sometimes it seems as if God is the opponent and we are contending against an unmovable object. Other times it seems that God is the coach sitting on the edge of the mat, shouting words of encouragement, asking us to give our best, celebrating our victories, and picking us up off the mat when we are defeated. And still other times God acts as the referee, making sure we wrestle by the rules, keeping us on the mat, and preventing us from stalling when action is needed. In the midst of the mess, God is there and all we have to do is open our eyes, ears, and heart. Then we must pay attention to his presence.
The Psalmist says, “Bless the Lord, all his works, and in all places of his dominion.” These words of wisdom direct our attention to a God who is actively involved in the midst of the mess. All of God’s works, where ever and whenever they happen are worthy of being blessed. As a matter of fact they are deserving of a blessing. So it is fitting that we bless God for his active presence in the midst of all of the circumstances of life.
Stuck at a railroad crossing? Take a moment to give God thanks for the extra time you had to sort through the events of the day. Struggling with issues at home? Look for God’s guiding presence as you address the issues before you. Washed away in the busy-ness of the day? Pause for a prayer break. In the midst of all the messy moments of life, pay attention to the works of the Lord in all of his dominion.
So, where is God in the midst of your mess?
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