The Mess and The Miracle

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Some days, when we look at ourselves we only see a mess. It’s easy to focus on what we get wrong, aren’t good at or the areas in our lives that don’t seem to be going well. Sometimes when we see ourselves all we see is mess. It’s easy to see a mess because it’s right there, in your face demanding your attention. Messes are big, loud, ugly, and constantly tripping us up.

When we begin a process of therapy or self-examination or going deeper into our own hearts, we start to realize that we have a mess going on. Everyone has difficult times and trials, and they leave behind messes. It’s very easy to only see the messes in our hearts, lives and minds and not look further out or any broader than our present mess.

Opposite of messes, miracles are quiet. Sometimes miracles are missed and unfold so gently and softly they are completely unnoticed. Many of the miracles I see are quiet and unannounced. Only by taking a step back and looking at circumstances that could have never arranged themselves is the miracle truly seen.

When you broaden your perspective and start to look up and away from the mess sometimes you can see the mess is contained inside the shell of a miracle. The miracle of you arriving where you are today, in the condition you are in with the things you know is a miracle. The very mess that consumes your focus has real, distinct stopping points. Those places the mess hasn’t been able to touch are bounded by the miracle.

As I work with people and we go down, deep into the mess and try to understand it and heal it we can begin to appreciate that there are miracles present as well. The suicide attempt that was thwarted and life restored, the success and stability despite the traumatic past. The new job with the resources that provided for help in the crisis. The faithful spouse who has never given up hope that things will be better.

Interestingly enough, the more of the mess we uncover the more miracles we begin to see as well. As we talk through and figure out the mess some of the miracles come into focus. There is a new appreciation for the fact that even in difficult and painful times we are still watched over and cared for. One of the best places I see this is Psalm 139:5-6, “You hem me in- behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain”. The fact that the miracle is there, wrapping in and containing the mess doesn’t change the mess. The thing that changes is our appreciation for the care of God in a very broken world.

While present in this world we do go through things and have problems. The care of God does not excuse us from having to work through our pain and mess, but we can appreciate that he was there, in all of it. If we don’t spend the time to look away from the mess would we even catch the miracle? A little perspective can make big changes in our ability to work on hard things when we see that during them we’ve been surrounded by miracles.

The miracles can give us the strength to continue because in them we see we were cared for.  Our “stuff” is wrapped in love and hemmed in with miracles. When we begin getting so focused and bogged down in the mess, we lose the miracle. Every once in a while, when you can, look up, and see the miracle you are surrounded with. Let it demonstrate the love and care wrapped around you, bigger than your mess.

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