It started when Micca’s sister refused to allow their brother to pay for her dinner. While her sister loves to give to others, she’s not so good at receiving. Micca, on the other hand, understood that it gave their brother great pleasure to pick up the check. And, she says, “Lord knows I didn’t want to deny him his blessing!”

Poor Tiffany found herself caught in the middle. Eager to win her over to his side, their brother said to Tiffany, “You see, I was a drug addict for years. During that time, my sisters did a lot for me. Now, I just want to bless them.”

Tiffany’s eyes widened. “You were a drug addict?” she inquired. “I would have never guessed.”

“Yes, I was,” their brother replied. “But Jesus changed all that.” Then he told Tiffany his life-changing story.

“I went from being lost to being found; from being homeless to being a homeowner; from being an employee to owning my own business; from being bound by drugs to being set free in Christ!”

Tears filled Tiffany’s eyes as they shared God’s love with her. That’s not all. Later that week, they confirmed God’s love to her by presenting her with a gift for her baby. When you and I – like Micca’s brother – allow God to turn our mess into our message, He not only changes our lives, but He changes the lives of others too.

Remember, no matter what your bondage, surrendering it to Christ is the pathway to freedom!

Then, I read a story from Max Lucado that goes like this:

Bill Tucker was 16 years old when his dad suffered a health crisis and consequently had to leave his business. Even after Mr. Tucker regained his health, the Tucker family struggled financially, barely getting by.

Mr. Tucker, an entrepreneurial sort, came up with an idea. He won the bid to reupholster the chairs at the local movie theater. This stunned his family. He had never stitched a seat. He didn’t even own a sewing apparatus. Still, he found someone to teach him the skill and located an industrial-strength machine. The family scraped together every cent they had to buy it. They drained savings accounts and dug coins out of the sofa. Finally, they had enough.

It was a fine day when Bill rode with his dad to pick up the equipment. Bill remembers a jovial, hour-long trip discussing the bright horizons this new opportunity afforded them. They loaded the machine in the back of their truck and secured it right behind the cab. Mr. Tucker then invited his son to drive home. I’ll let Bill tell you what happened next:

“As we were driving along, we were excited, and I, like any 16-year-old driver, was probably not paying enough attention to my speed. Just as we were turning on the cloverleaf to get on the expressway, I will never ever, ever forget watching that sewing machine, which was already top-heavy, begin to tip. I slammed on the brakes, but it was too late. I saw it go over the side. I jumped out and ran around the back of the truck. As I rounded the corner, I saw our hope and our dream lying on its side in pieces. And then I saw my dad just looking. All of his risk and all of his endeavor and all of his struggling and all of his dream, all of his hope to take care of his family was lying there, shattered.

“You know what comes next don’t you? ‘Stupid, punk kid driving too fast, not paying attention, ruined the family by taking away our livelihood.’ But that’s not what he said. He looked right at me. ‘Oh, Bill, I am so sorry.’ And he walked over, put his arms around me, and said, ‘Son, this is going to be okay.’”

God is whispering the same to you. Those are His arms you feel. Trust Him. That is His voice you hear. Believe Him. Allow the only decision maker in the universe to comfort you. Life at times appears to fall to pieces, seem irreparable.

But it’s going to be okay. How can you know?

Because God so loved the world!

If God can make a billion galaxies, can’t He make good out of our bad and sense out of our faltering lives? Of course He can. He is God!

I’m reminded again today of how many people choose to live with an unswerving black/white, right/wrong, worthy/unworthy mentality. In a way, I guess I sometimes crave that simplicity. But, then I’m also reminded and challenged that we are called to live (and minister…and love) in a world full of gray areas and not-so-neatly-drawn margins.

There’s still room for rightness and wrongness to be believed and lived out and proclaimed, but maybe the blinders need to come off every now and then? It may be messier at times, it may require me to grapple longer with the complexities of an issue, it may force me to push the “pause” button every now and then, but I think maybe I’m OK with that.

After all…God took my MESS and made it my MESSAGE!