Happy 2017! On Jan 31, I decided to go to bed before 12:00….because…I’m old. But I couldn’t fall asleep. As I lay there I thought about new year’s resolutions. What were mine going to be? It’s a question that I had been mulling over for a few days. And in that moment, the Lord brought a simple child’s song to mind (we’ve been listening to this new CD over and over and over in the car…which might have something to do with the fact I had this song playing over and over and over in my head). The main theme goes like this: “God makes messy things beautiful when you put them in His hands.” Simple, yet very poignant to me.
Tonight as I was trying to sleep, I realized this principle was going to be my New Year’s resolution. It’s a true statement for both for salvation and for sanctification.
For salvation – God came to seek and save those who were lost. Jesus walked with the outcasts. He ate with the rejected. He came to save those who knew they needed SOMETHING! (Now, of course the sovereignty of God illuminates ones’ helplessness and need, but that’s for wiser people to discuss.) Back to the point, God sent Jesus to save those who were in need (which is everyone). The messy, as it were. As those people were then, so it is today. It is only when a person sees themselves as “messy,” as sinners in need of some type of deliverance, that we can be made righteous or “beautiful” as the song states. They have to see the mess!
For sanctification – even as one who has admitted a need, repented, and turned to God and have been declared righteous, I still sin. That’s just what I do. I am still messy! I am declared righteous because when God looks at me He sees Christ’s righteousness, yet I still sin. The penalty for all our sin is covered by the blood of Jesus, but anyone who has trusted in Jesus still lives and makes mistakes. We still fail. But, that is ok. IT’S OK! Why? Because God said we would. We are messy – until we see Jesus face to face! We are messy – weak. God is the one who can make us beautiful – strong.
I find myself forgetting this and instead I rely on on my own strength in an effort to be a “good” christian. But God says “wait! It’s not about YOU doing right. It’s about JESUS already living the right life and it’s about ME making you more like Jesus day by day.” It’s almost like God saying, “just step aside and watch me work in your life.” And what am I left with? PEACE! Sweet, sweet peace. God’s got this.
And so as I go into this new year, I want to pray this simple prayer more and more “God, take this messy girl (me) and make her beautiful and take this messy situation (whatever it may be) and make it beautiful.” A simple reminder that it’s not about me, its about God. An illustration is fitting here. On our many travels this holiday, as we were looking out the car window, we saw some beautiful sunsets. Tim asked Ivy why there were beautiful colors (brilliant pinks). Ivy didn’t know. The answer: It’s the sunlight reflecting off the different particles and dust in the atmosphere. And that – THAT – is the point. Are those particles and dust beautiful? No. They are messy. But when the sunlight shines through, then….THEN we see a magnificent sunset.
I want the messy particles of my life to end up reflecting the glorious sunlight of God’s love to the people around me. That is my new years resolution.