Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Making the most of my messes

The painting was really sad. It was supposed to depict a cluster of grapes, but it looked like a diseased raspberry instead. I’m talking about an experience at one of those painting parties, where you follow the instructions of a talented teacher and your great hope is that yours will look as good as hers. Oh, and did I mention they served wine at this party?  I think it was supposed to help?  Hmmm, not so much. I am not being hard on myself. I am being a realistic critic, and my completed painting really was a mess.  I took it home and tucked it in a corner where I would not see it.  Face down, out of sight, out of mind.  

Not too long ago, when I was cleaning my space, I came across it and I cringed.  Instead of putting it away again, I did the next best thing.  I painted right over it.  Yep, covered up the evidence, covered up the mess. I felt relief. Not a single grape existed anywhere on that canvas.  With a few quick brush strokes I had a “new” canvas that I could use for something better and more beautiful!  Something worth looking at.

Wouldn’t it be great if I could cover some of the messes that I’ve “painted” in my life?  The messes that I made because of bad decisions, selfishness, shame or whatever… (it’s a long list). If only those messes could be covered and made new with a big, broad brush stroke, leaving no evidence of the unpleasantness. If only.   

God’s word says this is possible. In the story of the prodigal son, a father grants his son’s demands for his inheritance.  You may be familiar with the story.  The son leaves his father’s home and squanders all of his inheritance.  At his lowest point, he realizes the mess he’s made of his life, and decides to go back to his father’s home.  He wonders if perhaps his father might take him back as a lowly servant.  Humility has caused a pivotal change in the son's heart, and so he makes his way back home. The father, seeing his son from a distance, is filled with love and compassion.  He runs towards his son with arms wide open.  So open, that he instructed his servants to prepare a party to celebrate his homecoming! 

This is a picture of how God reacts to us when we realize our mess is too much to handle.  When we approach HIM, he is ready to welcome us, receive us, forgive us and transform us.  Yes, He wipes our canvas clean. We can go to him with humility.  We can go with our mess. He is there.   

What kind of mess have you tried to cover up on your own?  Why not give it to him so he can make something new, something beautiful out of it. You will not be disappointed. You will find great joy in knowing your Father in Heaven has been waiting for you all along.

But I wipe away your sins because of who I am.  And so, I will forget the wrongs you have done.  Isaiah 43:25

Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.  Romans 4:7-8

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  Lamentations 3:22-23