A Beautiful Mess

Challenge Central: a CBC devotional

By: Charlie Lyons

I never cease to be amazed at how a comment from a three-year-old can bring immediate and resounding perspective to just about any situation. Can you recall when you’ve been completely taken aback by a toddler’s seemingly unintended depth and perception?

Our three kiddos are either in their teenage years or not far away, but I remember such an exchange with our eldest child. It was about a decade ago, but it feels like it was just yesterday. I was down the hall from our son Caleb’s bedroom, where I could hear him playing happily with his Thomas the Tank Engine Duplo toys. As usual, he was excitedly repeating what I’m sure he believed was an interesting storyline from an episode of the show as he played.

Next, something else happened that usually accompanied his playtimes. In his delightful three-year-old vocabulary, there was a big “crash-bang-boom!” With a surprisingly precise swipe of his hand, several pieces of Duplo quickly made their way across his bed, onto the floor, and around the room.

What he said next literally stopped me in my tracks: “Whoa! What a beautiful mess!”

As he gathered up the pieces and put them all back together again, I was struck by the vivid illustration this draws of our Heavenly Father and His daily interactions with His children.

Each morning, a new storyline unfolds for you. As the eternally-existent, I can picture God the Father excitedly looking on with gleeful anticipation:

“Which direction will he go today?”

“What decisions will she make?”

“Which choices or opportunities will they make the most of?”

Of course, in His omniscience, He knows all of those answers, but as you experience the inevitable daily personal crashes, bangs, and booms, the pieces of your life are strewn messily all over the place.

Friend, your Heavenly Father regularly surveys your situation, and with profound mercy and overwhelming grace, He declares over you, “What a beautiful mess!” Then, He goes about putting your life back together again with His extraordinary edition of parental patience and steadfast love.

If you’re anything like me, there are regularly pieces of your life all over the place. Scripture tells us that “the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life,” working in conjunction with “the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience,” conspire daily for the destruction of each of our lives. (1 John 2:16; Ephesians 2:2) Some days, it feels like a relentless wrestling match. Without regular “wrest stops,” this constant struggle will wear you out.

You can rest assured, friend, that even on your ‘messiest’ of days, His extravagant grace is lavished on you. God the Father loves you in your messiness, and as an eternally-existent parent, He desires to help His child put your life back together—over and over and over again.

Often, the challenge given to us weekly in Challenge Central is something for us to do. The challenge this week is to do nothing but find rest and renewed perspective in these words:

“Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because He delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:18-19 ESV)

Take heart and give thanks, friend—His mercy endures forever.

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