A Lot of Mess In Between
God is a great God who can turn our mess into mercy in a moment.
That’s the thought I get when I read Psalm 105 and the narrative of Joseph. You know, the Hebrew guy with the many-colored coat, whose jealous older brothers faked his death, and sold him to into slavery to Egyptian traders. What a life. What a mess.
Psalm 105 sums it up well: “He sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave…afflicted his feet with fetters…was laid in irons; Until the time that His word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him. The king sent and released him…set him free…made him lord of his house and ruler over all his possessions. And He cause His people to be very fruitful…” Psalm 105:16-24
From Joseph the rejected to Joseph the rescuer – with a lot of mess in between.
If this was the only story in the Bible of this sort, it’d be an exception. However, instead of being a “one-off”, this is the norm. What life doesn’t have mess? Who among us has a smooth life? No one I know.
Instead, part of God’s redemptive action in our lives takes us through the mess and places us in His supernatural and unimaginable narrative that is being woven before our eyes. If we’ll see it.
If you’re in a mess, wait in faith. One day, you’ll look back and see yourself in a similar storyline to Joseph’s. Not now, but one day.
There’s always a lot of mess in between. And there’s also an incredible God who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above what we can ask or think! That’s the bigger story here – Amazing God.
Striking images hit me this morning. The recent string of cultural and racial clashes in our nation, the senseless killing of police officers, along with the ever-present terrorism world-wide have me wondering, “How can this be changed?”
Who will stop shouting, stop dividing and begin reconciling? There’s one answer – the Church will do this. She’s made for this. The church was birthed in racial strife, where Jews and Gentiles raged against one another until the gospel drew us closer together.
The Apostle showed us that reconciling the races is embedded in the Gospel. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
I prayed this morning surrounded by Hispanic, Chinese, African-American and many other races. I worshiped the Savior today with the backdrop of a group of students on their way to camp – too diversified to name the backgrounds. I called our congregation to prayer, and saw black and white, arms around each other, kneeling and weeping for the senselessness our culture, asking, “Lord, how long?”
We called the church to this. “When the cultural clashes are amplified, the prayer we pray must be intensified.” And pray we did. Prayers of repentance for racist attitudes. Prayers of compassion and grace for the families of the fallen. Prayers of protection for our police, and prayers of hope for our community.
Dr. Martin Luther King once said that the 11 o’clock hour is the “most segregated hour in this nation.” He had a point. We’ve must move beyond that – and we must do it now.
And once we’re beyond the walls of the church building, wherever we worship, we’ve got to live out the grace and love we talk about when we gather.
The church united will be more powerful than words, laws or protests. It’s already happening, if you’ll see it. And if it’s not happening where you worship, take the first step to change your church culture.
When Culture Becomes Violent
Dark days require light and salt. They require measured responses and wisdom from above, not below.
1. Pray for families of all those killed in recent days. For the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. For the families of Lorne Ahrens, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Smith, Michael Krol and Brent Thompson. I don’t have to know the outcomes of investigations to pray – God knows. Yes, pray also for the family of Micah Xavier Johnson.
2. Support racial reconciliation AND your police. You cannot tell me I have to choose between the two. No group is perfect. Racial reconciliation is a gospel issue – we’re all the same in Christ. Racism is sin. Police are part of a biblically recognized group in Romans 13. They protect and discipline because it’s necessary. As believers, it’s our calling to support both.
3. Pursue the true solution – the Gospel for our communities. Stop talking about the gospel solutions ONLY behind closed doors. Can’t we see where it needs to be applied? It’s the Gospel of PEACE – and we’re looking at the result of a gospel-less culture.
We should be determined to love all our brothers and sisters, reach out to them – love our officers and families and reach out and pray for them….speak up. Try to identify with what others are experiencing (in my case it’s my African-American brothers and sisters). Shine light and bring hope.
Thoughts from John Meador and insights from God's Word.