The mess in my children’s bedroom stopped me in my tracks.
Beds unmade. A tub of legos spilled onto the floor. Stuffed animals strewn in every nook and cranny. Clean, folded clothes parked on heaps dirty laundry. Wrappers and McDonald’s toys littered the floor. Papers spilled out of desk drawers and books teetered in stacks around the room. Everything from naked barbies to jewelry scattered across the rug.
It looked like a garbage dump.
I assessed the situation and announced to my two youngest children that they needed to clean and organize the entire room. Now!
My daughter’s eyes widened and her jaw hit the floor in indignation. “Mom! You can’t expect me to clean all of this! I am just a kid!”
The temptation as a parent was to rattle off a trite momish reply, “You didn’t need help making this mess. You don’t need help cleaning it up!” I am actually quite good at offering these nuggets of wisdom to my children throughout the day.
But an invisible finger rushed to my lips as God whispered into my heart, “Is that my response to you?”
My eyes swept the room. I was staring at a manifestation of the second law of thermodynamics: matter trends from order to disorder with no help required. It takes energy and logic to create or restore order. And some messes are just too catastrophic for kids to clean up on their own.
Children are smart enough to recognize this truth and ask for help from someone far better suited to guide and direct them to restore order. Adults tend to take a different approach. Unlike children, we rarely look to our Father for help with the messes we make. Instead, we try to clean them up all by ourselves.
Our messes are higher stakes and often come in the form of broken relationships, lost jobs, anger, debt, loss, hurt and division. And Scripture reminds us that self-made messes in life are usually rooted in sin.
And he (Jesus) said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” Mark 7:20-23
We have direct access to the creator of order, itself. One who loves us and is for us. Still, we are a prideful and stubborn lot. So we fumble to fix what we’ve damaged, find what we’ve lost and gather what we’ve scattered. We scrape and scrounge like all the king’s horses and men to put life together again.
It need not be so.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. Psalm 103:10-13
The King of order is a good, good father. He patiently, willingly steps in to help us restore order in the chaos we create. This first requires admission of our culpability in making the mess. But God stands ready to forgive and restore.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9
This is good news. Like my daughter, who beamed with relief when I came alongside her to clean up the bedroom, we can find hope as we bring our big and small messes to the One who created us. As His beloved children, we can trust Him to guide us, restore us and establish order in our hearts and our lives.