A RIGHTEOUS MESS
by Jon Walker
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 (NIV)
One Thanksgiving I woke up in a strange hospital in a distant city. I’d been moments away from carving the turkey, but groggily realized I’d been the turkey carved that day. My gallbladder was removed during emergency surgery.
Lying in the hospital, I reflected on how rough the year had been. In less than 12 months, I had a kidney stone removed, a hernia repaired, a delicate operation on my writing hand, my gallbladder sliced out, and more painfully, my mother diagnosed with Alzheimer’s beginning our care of her.
Yet, the truth is it had been, perhaps, the greatest year of my life. I’d learned that because Christ is in me, He’s also in the middle of the mess.
And I’d learned that the mess is there to show me where I hung my hope. If our hope is based on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness, then being in a mess is an opportunity for God show us how he works in our lives — and the messes we face can provoke us into more certain belief and firmer faith.
This isn’t to suggest we cling to a Pollyanna-type faith, where we pretend everything is OK when it’s not. Truth says life hurts; life is hard, but Truth also reminds us that our life is in Christ. With the Holy Spirit empowering us, trouble becomes an opportunity to develop joy: “For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” (James 1:3, NLT)