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How to Make Sense of the Mess

Life is so messy. So many dynamics. Overwhelmingly so. 

So, how are we to make sense of all this mess! It seems pretty hopeless. Senseless.

Unless we look at the KEY to securing the order we desire in our chaos:

...How we are designed to make sense of the mess...

God came in the flesh to a world of mess so He could offer-

His Peace,

His Grace,

His Hope. 

And according to the Bible, He certainly did so! Amen. 

And He calls us to be his ambassadors, representing Him (peace, grace and hope) to others. 

Sounds great!? Sort of...

It is still quite messy. And it sets my heart and mind on edge. Literally! (dealing with a migraine at present...just saying...)

2 Corinthian 5:17 says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"

However, the messiness of this world and the messiness of our hearts certainly do not make this above truth as easy & clean as it appears to promise. 

Because this Truth does not promise to be as easy and clean as we purpose it to be. 

I am finding that I have been aligning to a skewed design of making sense of the mess. A design I embraced so I would have life the way I wanted to have it.

Which I am better coming to grips with is not reality. It is "my" idea. And I am just one, little human being on this earth loaded down with tons of weaknesses and a myriad of mistakes.

Once again, the messiness of this world and the messiness of our lives certainly do not make "the old has gone, the new has come!" as easy & clean as it appears to promise. 

Why so?

Because this Truth never promised us that it would be as easy and clean as we try to design it to be. 

In actuality...

This Truth was modeled, in the flesh, to demonstrate how we are designed to make sense of mess.

"The Truth became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only,* who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

First and foremost, making sense of the mess entailed the life, death & resurrection of Jesus Christ. And that was quite a mess!

Now, making sense of the mess entails the constant dying to myself & living by faith in God & His Word. 

Making sense of the mess now entails a furious & ugly spiritual battle. 

That certainly does not sound like the phrase we hear and see this Christmas season,

"Peace on earth, goodwill to men." (Luke 2:14)

That doesn't make a bit of sense.

The common Christmas phrase makes no sense when we look at the world around us (honestly, no farther than at our own lives) to only find mess after mess...

...addictions, broken relationships, torn families, war, famine, disease, death of our loved ones, financial upheaval, no relief in sight...

I have been praying-arguing this over in my mind for several months now. I say argue because of the intensity of wanting answers...

...wanting to make sense of the mess.

...wanting to help my neighbor make sense of the mess.


It wasn't until writing that last "wanting" that it dawned on me. (Actually I believe God was replying to my prayer-arguing)

God was answering me. He didn't have to, but because He is full of Grace and Truth, He tenderly answered me.

I now better understand this Truth, “The old is gone, the new has come.”

God helped me see how He has designed us to make sense of mess. And to live aligned to any other design leaves us like I was...hopeless, helpless, disillusioned, stuck...

This Truth does NOT mean "no more mess;" rather, this Truth means God has given me a New Order (a new Design) to align to, in the mess.

17 And we know we are going to get what's coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we're certainly going to go through the good times with him!
18 That's why I don't think there's any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. Romans 8:17-18 (MSG)

Like I said earlier, I now better understand this Truth, “The old is gone, the new has come.”

I have a long ways to go in fully grasping this Truth. And that is okay.

Because it is a journey, not a destination. For those of us who know Jesus Christ as our personal Savior from the just punishment of our individual sins, our Destination is already secured. Eternal Life is in a Person, a relationship. And He securely promises to bring us Home.

In the meantime, we get to live in the mess and make sense of the mess with a New Order. Living aligned to our God-given design...

...that, in this case, means God promises to be with us in the mess, and give us all we need to journey onward with Him, no matter the mess we are in on this temporary home.

Just like the prophet Isaiah prophesied hundreds of years before the very first Christmas came to be...

Look! The virgin* will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel—‘God is with us.’ (Isaiah 7:14)

This New Order is not the absence of mess, it is the presence of our Savior.

I invite your comments of head and heart as we journey onward to live aligned to our God-given design for greatest Gospel impact! Amen.

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1 Comment

Cammie Barton
Cammie Barton
Dec 05, 2019

I love the authenticity and watching your heart unfold even as you write. In our kids ministry last Sunday we talked about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. I can’t help but draw a comparison between your imagery of “messiness” and the fire that surrounded them. God didn’t take the fire away, dim it or make it less hot. Instead a man of great influence... the KING says, look a fourth!

““Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!””

‭‭Daniel‬ ‭3:25‬ ‭NLT‬‬

And BECAUSE of the fire, not despite it, Nebuchadnezzar led the people to the one true God.

Oh how I pray people look at my mess and…

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