As I walked into the kitchen, I saw that flour, measuring cups, and mixing bowls covered the counter: my daughter had been baking again. I exhaled a heavy sigh as I wondered, “When will these kids clean up after themselves?!” As I got closer, however, I noticed her signature smiley face drawn into the layer of flour dusting. I couldn’t help but smile as I thought, “She left her signature in the mess!” To her, this was not a mess that needed to be cleaned but rather an opportunity for her to draw her favorite happy face.
Soon my thoughts turned to the Lord and how He so often leaves His signature upon what I perceive to be nothing but a mess. What I see as a mess, He sees as an opportunity.
I wonder, as we enter the final few months of 2020: Are we heavy hearted, tired, or weary from a “messy” year? Are we disappointed or frustrated due to “messy” relationships? Are we overwhelmed by having to deal with one “mess” after another? If so, we are not alone. Truly, you are not alone. He is with you, and He is working. And maybe, just maybe, through eyes of faith and a heart enlightened in order that we may know the hope to which He has called us (Ephesians 1:18) we will see His “signature” upon what we otherwise perceive to be nothing more than a mess.
Just as my daughter was known for leaving her mark, her signature, of smiley faces to let us know she was there, the Lord leaves His “signature” to assure and remind us that He, too, is there and is indeed “working out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will” (Ephesians 1:11). Not only do we have His presence, but we also have the “signature” of His promises, His people, His power, and the reminders of His past faithfulness.
The next time we are tempted to see only the mess, let’s pray that we may truly see His divine “signature,” perhaps through some of the following, which are special reminders to us that He has not left us nor forgotten us:
Regardless of the severity of the “mess,” He is with us.
“Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hotthat the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace. Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, ‘Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?’ They replied, ‘Certainly, Your Majesty.’ He said, ‘Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.’” (Daniel 3:19-25)
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” (Psalm 139:7-12)
Despite the “mess,” what hope and comfort fills our hearts when we remember the promises of God! Whether it is Romans 8:28 or Philippians 1:6 or one of the 3,571 other promises found in the Bible (according to one account), how we need to “let God’s promises shine on your problems” as Corrie Ten Boom said.
“This is my comfort in my affliction, that Your promise gives me life.” (Psalm 119:50)
“The Lord is trustworthy in all He promises and faithful in all He does.” (Psalm 145:13b)
Whether you are currently facing a “mess” or are on the other side of a “mess,” the one receiving or the one giving, when His children comfort one another, weep and rejoice with one another (Romans 12:15), and share one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2) a special blessing takes place in the heart of both people as His love is put into action.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
The greater the weakness, difficulty, or disappointment (in other words, the “mess”), the greater the opportunity for God’s power to show forth.
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it (a thorn in the flesh) away from me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-10)
His past faithfulness
Remembering His faithfulness in the past is a great encouragement in the present.
“Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what He has done for me.” (Psalm 66:16)
The next time we are tempted to focus on the mess, to exhale a heavy sigh because of the mess, let us remember to look for His “signature” as He reminds us that He is there and He is working. The mess is simply an opportunity for Him to make Himself known through His presence, His promises, His people, His power, and His past faithfulness.