"...for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7
Years ago, I listened on Christmas Eve as our beloved pastor spoke quietly in a darkened sanctuary. He began his message, "It was a mess. It was not a clean and tidy evening. It was a mess." He went on to describe what a barn birth must have been like.
Animals. Manger. Baby. Precious Baby.
I vividly remember that message, the way he began, "It was a mess." So often I feel like a mess. I rush and scurry, moving place to place and juggling the schedule of an active seven year old with the constant motion of an active three year old. Definitely do-able, but sometimes a mess.
I looked in my purse today to find a mess, receipts from grocery shopping, several penned notes needing to be mailed, stamps, my calendar and address book, dried out from a drop in a puddle as the snow melted, delicately scribbled with the artistry of the seven year old and the three year old. I thought briefly about tossing the address/date book in the garbage, the pages were stuck together, ink had run down the pages, nothing legible. It is worth keeping, but it is a mess.
I salvaged a coupon or two. I gathered up pens and batteries and savings cards. I replaced all the contents of my wallet, where they belong. I was busily cleaning up the mess.
And then I found it. A small notebook. In it were several pages filled with notes. One had pictures of Jesus turning water into wine, one had notes on love and forgiveness. One had the name Hannah written six or seven times and a heart with the words "for mommy". I did not recognize the little notebook. My mother must have handed it to the girls during church one Sunday. And amongst the mess, I discovered a precious treasure. Inside that messy purse was a golden nugget, a gift that I will keep to give our daughters. Definitely worth keeping!
My mother often says that there should be order in your sanctuary, where you spend your quiet time, there needs to be order. I have quiet time in our bedroom. But I glanced around the bedroom this evening to see the wall that was torn down over two years ago, still a mess. There was a laundry basket with some whites that needed to be folded, my laptop, a dog toy or two, a basket of bills...a mess. I could not do anything with the wall, so I accepted the thing I could not change and began to change the things I could. And as good as that felt, the reality is I still have the mess of my heart to clean up. SO many things worth keeping, but most certainly a mess. Like what God does with our hearts; we are worth keeping, but we come to Him a mess.
It is ongoing...that mess. Our hearts. We need to clean them daily. Searching them for broken pieces and proud moments, kneading them like clay and allowing God to work in them. Drywall and trashcans won't heal the messes of our hearts but the Word of the Lord will.
Come quiet time at night, I will be more committed to cleaning not just the physical space, but the cobwebs and muddy places in my heart.
"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me." Psalm 51:10
Are there places in your heart God is just waiting to spring clean?