Today during our ladies group we discussed chapter thirteen of Uninvited, “Miracles in the Mess”. I usually read the chapters during the week, but I only read this one about two hours before we met. Oops. Our group leader usually likes to read ahead for the week too, but she only read the chapter last night. We both agreed that it was a rich chapter. The content was deep. A little overwhelming. And it really focused on applying the truth of God to our own lives.
The book has an overall theme of rejection and how we can deal with rejection. She begins the chapter by describing to us why Jesus is the perfect example of who we can turn to when we’re feeling rejected. People laughed at Him. People rejected Him. People misunderstood Him. And despite all of those things Jesus continued to do His miracles in the midst of messy realities. She reminds us, “Don’t get so consumed by and focused on the mess – the feelings of rejection, hurt, and disillusionment – that you miss the miracle.”
I saw the miracle in my mess this morning. Not necessarily in the way that Lysa may have intended, with the ideas of personal application and transformation. But I saw it.
Seldom does a person approach me and congratulate me for pursuing a career in higher education instead of in industry. I met a young lady at my conference and the morning we were leaving she asked me how I became so accomplished at a young age. The previous night I had told her a bit about my job and my responsibilities at the university. So when she called me accomplished I think I chuckled a bit and told her that my degree was in chemical engineering. The tone of the conversation immediately changed. It was like all of a sudden I was being lectured by my mom. And she said, “Honey, you need to be making six figures.”
So this morning when I was greeting members at church as they entered, a college student stopped and asked me more about my position with the university. We had met several semesters ago and he wanted to know why I decided not to pursue engineering. He was genuinely interested. He asked me how I knew that engineering wasn’t for me. How I found out about the open job position. How has my position allowed me to grow personally and professionally. The more in-depth our conversation got, the less I remembered to open the door and greet others. But after working as a resident assistant in student housing this semester, mentoring younger resident assistants and watching them grow (a lot of them are introverts and he’s been able to see them step outside of their comfort zones and gain confidence), and helping plan programs for his residents, he’s not sure if a computer science job will allow him to develop and engage with people on a level as intimate as that. He just wanted someone to talk to. Someone who could offer a bit of insight. He may not have all of the answers, but unlike my conversation with the student on Thursday, this conversation left me feeling a bit more fulfilled inside.
I love my church. We’re not perfect and by no means do we have everything figured out. My favorite thing about us is how transparent we are. As our pastor said today, “We are a church that lives in the messy middle and we acknowledge that life is hard.” I was reminded of that today during worship. Our worship team, small but mighty, sang “King of My Heart” and there wasn’t a dry eye on the stage. For me personally, it was nice to see. We talked about “saved people” today and often times I think that others and myself think this means that these people are exempt from enduring any trials or temptations from the enemy. And I know that’s not true. But it was nice to see our keyboardist and drummer with tears in their eyes, acknowledging that they too have pain and that life can be difficult.
During the sermon our pastor mentioned that he doesn’t really like the word “saved”. Or at least in the context that most Christians use it in. Because at least to him, being “saved” sounds like a one time event and it’s not. It’s an ongoing process. It’s past. It’s present. It’s future. “We were saved. We’re being saved. And we will be saved. Saved people participate in the saving of others.” Take a moment to let that sink in.
As I was reading this morning, I was reminded of a song by Kirk Franklin called “Miracles”. I’ve been listening to it often. There’s a line where he says, “While you’re waiting on the miracle that you want, don’t forget the miracle you are.” Even in your messiness and your brokenness, please don’t forget the miracle that you are to someone else.