In The Middle Of The Mess

This is Day 9 of my Write 31 Days series for 2017: 31 Days of Kintsugi.
For an index of all the posts in the series, please click here.

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This week, our focus is going to be on examples of Kintsugi from the Bible- stories where we see God at work transforming the brokenness into beauty.

To Joseph, it must have looked like a mess.

None of it had been his fault.  He hadn’t asked his dad to make him the “favoured child,” he hadn’t deserved his brothers’ hatred.  Maybe he’d been a little unwise in sharing his dreams with them- they were never going to respond well to the idea that they would bow before him- but it hardly merited being thrown down a well and narrowly escaping death, only to be sold as a slave.

His dreams of grandeur were replaced by the stark reality of life- miles from home, a humble servant in a rich man’s house- and just when things began looking up and he was given more responsibility, he found himself in jail- imprisoned for nothing other than resisting temptation and doing the right thing.

Even after helping his fellow prisoners by interpreting their dreams, his hopes of freedom were dashed, and in prison he stayed, disappointed and forgotten.

It must have looked like a mess to Jacob too.  Having already dealt with the loss of his beloved wife Rachel, he had to face the devastating news that his son Joseph had been killed- attacked by a wild animal, or so he assumed.  All that was left was a robe covered in blood.

It must have looked like a mess to Joseph’s brothers as they witnessed their father’s heartache while they knew the truth.  Had they ever stopped to consider the impact their actions would have had on him?  They must have lived with the guilt for years, knowing that what they had done could not be fixed.  It was too much of a mess.

It must have looked like a mess to Pharaoh- strange dreams that seemed somehow significant, but no-one able to tell him what they meant.

Yes, it looked like a mess, but in the middle of the mess, God was working:

  • Prompting the cupbearer Joseph had met in prison to finally remember the one who had such skill in interpreting dreams
  • Giving Joseph the wisdom to understand so that he could explain to Pharaoh that his dreams predicted seven years of plenty followed by seven of famine
  • Helping Pharaoh see that Joseph was the answer to this problem- one who could be trusted to be in charge of organising the grain
  • Using the circumstances of the famine to bring Joseph and his brothers back together
  • Working change in the brothers’ hearts and forgiveness in Joseph’s
  • Eventually allowing father and son to be reunited and a broken family to be reconciled

From inside the story, it must have seemed like a mess, but looking back, from outside the story, it is a thing of beauty as we see God weave his golden threads of redemption to bind up the brokenness and work even the sinful choices into his good plan.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.  He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.”  (Genesis 50:20 NLT)

Dare we trust God to do the same for us?  Could it be that in the midst of our messy stories he has a plan?

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23 thoughts on “In The Middle Of The Mess

    1. Andrew, I hate the pain and suffering that you are going through. I wish I could take it away or at least make sense of it, but I can’t. All I know is that I’ve seen God at work in you in the midst of it, building your character, and in the way your words inspire so many people. I don’t know why you have to endure all of this, and I’m amazed by how strong you’ve been for so long, but I do know that God’s ultimate plan for you is the best one ever and that it involves eternity with him, free from pain and suffering. Praying for you today.

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  1. Lesley, I can just barely read Joseph’s story, and even then, it gives me a twisting feeling in my innards. That home was so dysfunctional, and then it took years of brokenness and disappointment for him to live his way into God’s purpose in it all. Thanks for showing the beauty of it.

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    1. I know what you mean- there is so much brokenness. It must have been so hard to live through although we can look back and see the beauty now. It gives hope though for our situations that nothing is beyond God’s power to redeem and restore.

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  2. Life is indeed messy, heartbreaking, complicated. Yet, through all of that, God DOES have a plan, for joy, redemption, prosperity. For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. –Jeremiah 29:11

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  3. Praise God that He’s alive and well and working in the messiness of our own personal lives and in the life of our extended families. If we were to sit and recall every act of His faithfulness, our limited words would reach the skies.

    This series is such an important reminder of His great redemptive healing love toward us. There is beauty in the ashes, for sure, Lesley …

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    1. Yes, nothing is beyond God’s power to redeem. It is good to think of examples of God’s faithfulness. It gives us hope for other situations where we can’y see it yet.

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  4. Hi Lesley! I like the insight of a ‘mess’ from so many angles. When I think that life is a mess, I think I should start seeing it from other people’s perspectives too.
    And like you say, mess can be the crazy before the blessing. Patience is such an important spiritual gift, and it’s one I need to work on daily…or hourly!
    May God be with us, blessing us with peace and with the perseverance to wait.
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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    1. Thanks, Ceil! Yes, seeing different perspectives is important, and remembering that God has a different perspective from us and he can be working for good even when we struggle to see it.

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  5. The account of Joseph is utterly amazing to me. From God’s perspective it takes a lifetime to fulfill his purpose but God’s plan unfolds and the end lays me out flat. So much despair and suffering in Joseph’s life, from his perspective, without purpose or meaning, and yet at God’s appointed time, he is exactly where God wants him to be. There is so much for us to learn from Joseph’s life.

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  6. You could write everyday of the year on brokenness and you still wouldn’t cover it all. God’s story of redemption is one that I can never get enough of. The story of Joseph is a beautiful example.

    Thank you for these words —–>From inside the story, it must have seemed like a mess, but looking back, from outside the story, it is a thing of beauty as we see God weave his golden threads of redemption to bind up the brokenness and work even the sinful choices into his good plan. Blessings!

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  7. Some days it feels like my piece of art looks like a broken crock pot held together by Gorilla Glue, ha! Funny as it sounds, the older I get, the more ok I am with that. At least my family’s bellies are full! He’s made everything beautiful in its time… Great post Lesley:)

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    1. We’re all works in progress and I think sometimes that can look messier than others, but God knows what he’s doing and the end result will be beautiful even though we can’t see it now!

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