The new year is upon us now, but as is common at this time of year, it has me reflecting on the past year. As I think back on the past year, one word comes to mind: Messy. I lost several loved ones prematurely for my liking. Several relationships proved challenging and difficult. Changes in business and ministry direction occurred which I wasn’t expecting. And several friends and I received painful cancer diagnoses and began treatment.
Those were things that primarily happened to me. Things I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
Yet our messes don’t just include the things that happen to us, do they?
In full disclosure, if I’m really being truthful with myself and you, there were plenty of messes that came at my own hand. Times when I willfully delayed obeying God out of fear, doubt, or uncertainty (delayed obedience is disobedience, and almost always messy). Times when the hurt and pain threatened to build bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness. Times when pride wanted my own way.
Even still, I wouldn’t wish these messes on anyone either. Those were hard painful lessons fought and won through the dirty muck and mire of daily life.
We’re not too messy for Jesus
As I reflect on the previous year, I’m so thankful for a Savior who doesn’t turn away and abandon us because He was perfect and we’re too messy.
I’m thankful for a perfect Savior who came specifically because I am imperfect and in need of a perfect Savior to rescue me from myself, much less from the world.
I’m thankful for a Savior who didn’t favor the beautiful, but took the time and was willing to get messy so that others could be cleaned: the woman with the issue of blood, the blind man who needed Jesus to spit in the dirt to heal him, the ragamuffin crew He first called disciples and then called friends.
Yes, this past year has been messier than I would have liked. But as I look back, I can see that Jesus didn’t shy away from my messes. He walked with me in and through them.
He never turned His back on me, but instead, faithfully offered to carry my messy burdens for me. Yet, so often, after relinquishing them to Him, I’d try to take them back, like day old garbage I thought I deserved. And each time, He reminded “I’ve already paid the price for that.”
A new year, a clean slate
As I look toward the new year, it is thus far a clean slate. An open book. A year of 365 new days of opportunity. And yet, I don’t know what they will hold. But I do know who holds them.
Will there be new messes? Probably so. I’m human. Sometimes I get ahead of God. Even when I know His plans, I often run ahead, trying to set the pace that was never mine to set.
But I know that through the messes, whether those that happen to me, or those that I create, God is faithful. And He has never and will never leave me. He knows the plans He has for me, and they are good. His plans are to prosper me and not to harm me, and His plans include a future and a hope. That’s a very good thing whether you’ve been given a cancer diagnosis, are fighting depression, have lost a job, or are wading through some other kind of mess. Jesus came for the messy, and was willing to get messy, in order for us to get clean.
Jesus came to redeem your messes
Friend, I don’t know what messes you’ve had to deal with this past year, or what messes you are currently dealing with. I don’t know whether you had any control in the matter or if they were of your own making. But it doesn’t matter. Jesus came for you…to redeem your messes, to draw you unto Him, and to take you into the next year with good plans for your life. Will you seek not only His plans but His pace for you this year? Will you let Him come in and clean up the messes, restoring you to Him?
May I pray for you?
I thank you that you don’t turn your back on our messes, but instead, sent a Savior to redeem us from our messes. Thank you, Father, that you never leave us or abandon us. Thank you that our messes don’t intimidate you but serve as a reminder of why we need you. Father, as we look to this new year, help us to look to you to set our path and to set our pace. Help us to desire your will and your way above all else. Help us to see your hand and hear your voice above any other. Help us to commit this year to you, and to praise you in and through it, even the messy times. In Jesus’s name, I pray, Amen.
Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
For more on New Year’s goals, visit 3 New Years Goals for Getting Back to What Really Matters or What to Do Instead of New Year’s Resolutions.
Depression doesn’t have to become a permanent part of life.
There is hope.
Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression and the companion Hope Prevails Bible Study help the reader understand how depression comes to be, recover their joy, reclaim their peace, and re-establish their true identity, while knowing their worth, remembering their secure destiny, and being confident that nothing separates them from God’s love.
“There are many fine, worthy, and insightful books written about depression but in my view, Dr. Bengtson’s trumps them all. Our first step of making it to the other side of the valley of depression may well be falling into the competent and compassionately written words of this God-honoring book: Hope Prevails.” ~ Marilyn Meberg, Speaker, Women of Faith
Ask Dr. B a Question.
Complete and Send the form below to submit a question for Dr. B to answer on a future Ask Dr. B post.
Please do not send any sensitive or confidential information in this form.