Take a moment to look at this picture.
It’s full of glorious color.
It’s a testimony to the beauty of creation that renews over and over and over again.
It’s a testimony to the evergreen and its reflection of the faithfulness of our great God.
What you don’t see, however, is that is was taken standing next to a garbage dumpster.
Now, I didn’t climb into the dumpster to take the picture, but I could have.
I know a number of people right now that have kind of latched onto a phrase I used several weeks ago as I spoke of being overwhelmed with the mess of life. I described the feeling of being “eyeballs-deep in the mess” and it struck a chord with some folks. If you’ve ever been through a season when you couldn’t seem to see out over the mess, you know what I’m talking about.
Part of my function as a pastor is to help us see things more completely, to see the hand of God at work even when we don’t feel it or when we’re overwhelmed. I get to sit in the mess with people and try to draw attention to the beauty around us that is so easily overlooked.
We sang a song yesterday that expressed it beautifully with this simple lyric, “There’s beauty in my brokenness.” (Give it a listen here.)
You see, the life of faith—for all who have believed in Jesus—is filled with beauty. When things are difficult and painful and scary, there is still an abundance of wonder in the greatness of our God and the things that He has made.
John’s gospel account teaches us that everything that was made came through Jesus (John 1.1-3). But when Jesus came to earth, God was coming to us, stepping down into the mess of this life to show us the most wondrous thing of all—Himself.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1.14)
My friends, there is much beauty around you. Despite how clouded our vision may become with the weight of the mess of life, the beauty is still there. Regardless of how broken and battered our hearts may be, the beauty of this God who stepped into the mess of this broken world is still all around us.
I know that the mess is overwhelming sometimes. I know that it’s often hard to stand up under the weight of it all. I know that the pain is so much sometimes that you cannot see around it. But the beauty is there… even when you’re eyeballs-deep.
Look up. Look beyond the mess. See the glory of our great God on display all around you.
Father, help us today to see Your glory on display—even when we’re eyeballs-deep in the mess.