January 28, 2010
Lord, this is a Mess
"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness..."
Romans 8:26 (NIV)
Have you ever been in a situation that seemed like such a mess you simply couldn't make sense of it? Like trying to straighten out a tangled necklace, you wonder how in heavens' name did all these knots get kinked and twisted and pulled so tight. And in the midst of trying to untangle a knot on one side you inadvertently form another on the other end.
It's frustrating when this happens with a piece of jewelry. And it's even more frustrating when it happens in relationships.
The other day I sat down to pray about a messy relationship and the knots were so consuming I couldn't even begin to make sense of it all. I didn't even know what to pray. I kept trying to think of wise words to offer up to the Lord that would surely unlock pieces and parts of this mess. But I was completely without a drop of insight. All I could see was a mess.
So, that's all I prayed, "Lord, this is a mess."
And then I just sat quietly and waited.
All that waiting time makes a doing girl like me feel like my nerves are going to bust out of my skin and start yanking my limbs into action. So, with all my might, I made myself sit and say nothing at all except, "Lord, this is a mess." And you know what? It was really hard to sit there with no answers. No wise words to pray. My usually very verbal self couldn't express anything but, "Lord, this is a mess."
I believe it's situations like this for which Romans 8:26-28 was written:
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (NIV).
In our weakness we can't objectively search our mind and spirit. And often in our weakness we can't untangle our knots according to God's will. We are too intertwined in emotion and assumption. That's why sometimes it's best if we just simply sit quietly and let the Spirit do some groaning, untangling and working on our behalf.
Like verse 28 says, there is good to come out of this. God is working and will work good out of this mess. Sometimes I think the only thing standing between our mess and His good work from it is our need to sit quietly. In the quiet beautiful things happen:
- We calm down.
- We create some white space between our harsh reaction and the way we'd want to react if we really thought things through first.
- We can ask God to intervene with real wisdom instead of our assumptions.
- God can show us where we need to change. We can't control the other person and parking our efforts toward trying will exhaust us. But we can let God help us change, which will create positive progress. (For more great things that can happen in the quiet, visit Lysa's blog linked below.)
I can't help but notice that the first four letters of Messiah spell mess. We need Him. Only the Messiah can take our mess and turn it into a untangled message of hope, forgiveness, and ultimately love.
Dear Lord, this is a mess. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Visit Lysa's blog for a list of 10 great things that can happen in the quiet
Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa TerKeurst
Am I Messing Up My Kids?...and Other Questions Every Mom Asks - a new book by Lysa TerKeurst. This is an expanded, updated version of her previous title, "The Bathtub is Overflowing But I Feel Drained."
The next time I'm in the midst of a mess, where is a quiet place I can sit with the Lord? How can I plan now to not react in the moment?
What are some personal benefits that would happen if I heeded this advice and stopped rushing in to fix things, but rather gave God time to speak to my heart?
What relationship do I have in my life that seems to get tangled up and messy most often?
What are some ways I might need to change?
Psalm 46:10a, "Be still, and know that I am God." (NIV)
Romans 8:26b, "We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." (NIV)
© 2010 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105