Links Daily Devotional

Messes into Messages

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6, NASB; today’s writer’s “life verse”)

Often it takes a mess in our life for God to get us the message that will ultimately help us and others. God is working all things together for good, but only those seeking God hang around long enough to have eyes to see the message God gives us during those trials. Barbara Johnson, the author and theologian, once said, “In every life you have mountaintop experiences and valley experiences. I am convinced that you learn more in the valleys because that is where the fertilizer is.”

The game of golf is a good place to start in understanding this message. It is a tough game that can never be conquered. We can never play it perfectly. Can I get an “amen?” Blessings one day and the bottom of the pit the next. Bob Rotella, the renowned sports psychologist, parlayed this idea into the title of one of his books, Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect. And neither is life.

I wrote a ministry newsletter several weeks ago about Ken Gire. One of my best friends and also my favorite Christian author of all time, Ken has had a major impact on my life. He thinks his life has been a mess for a number of reasons. I have included some of that message below.

The following dialogue from Relentless Pursuit was between Ken and a good friend who mentored him during a difficult time in Ken’s life:

“Do you think you’ve wasted your life?”“I just feel I’ve made so many mistakes, failed so many people, including God.”

“The difference between guilt and shame is this: Guilt says ‘I screwed up.’ Shame says ‘I’m a screw-up.’ You made some mistakes, Ken, but you are not a mistake. You have loved and helped so many people. You haven’t wasted your life. But the shame you have over your failures makes it feel that way.

“How can any of us tell if we have wasted our life? We can’t judge the smaller failures in our story unless we know the whole of the larger story and how those failures fit in to the big picture.”

Now here is the lesson I am learning. I received more e-mail and phone responses from that one newsletter than I normally receive in a year. All with the same conclusion: “I am so glad to know that I am not the only one who feels that way. I just hope that there is a message I can apply and learn that may even help others in the midst of this mess.” This kind of response surely applies to me, too!

We need to remember that God is not through with us yet. He started a good work in us, and he will perfect it in his time and his way, just as he did with failures like Peter and Paul. It is a message of hope. Our mess can be an eternal message of hope.

Randy Wolff

May 7, 2012

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