Proverbs 14:4, John 9:1-3

Tim Lucas considers Jesus' love in the midst of the mess of life.

Tim Lucas
Tim Lucas

If you've ever travelled through a farming town, or better still visited a farm, you'll understand perfectly Proverbs 14:4. When there are no oxen everything can be kept clean and presentable, but the moment oxen are there, that familiar smell fills the air, the sound of mooing floods the ears and all other kinds of waste begin to appear. The profound truth of it is resonant no matter who you are or where you come from - life is messy. By definition life is not perfect.

In the middle of John, we find a story about a blind man. When Jesus and his disciples approach the man born blind, the disciples ask whose sin caused the blindness. We know the man was a beggar. We know he had parents and neighbours. Each group of people would have seen something different and would have focused on a different issue. Here the disciples saw an issue of theology; yet the public may have seen an issue of poverty, the parents an issue of dependency, the neighbours an issue of identity and later on the Pharisees an issue of blasphemy. But Jesus saw something different.

It would be easy to categorise this man and his situation. It would be easy to begin discussing in front of him what kind of care he needed, the cause and effect of such an issue and the long term consequences of living with blindness. Jesus was given the option to answer the question directly, but instead he chose to say something completely different: This man is here to display God's glory.

With life comes mess. We could all name something in our lives that was messy, or is messy. We could write quite an extensive list of all the things that happen simply because life brings with it a whole load of mess. But we also have to remember one vitally important piece of information: the greatest display of God's glory was the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus and Jesus came to earth because of love. Jesus lived, worked, died and rose again thoroughly consumed by love. The way God's glory was displayed through the blind man was partly through him being healed, but mostly through him being loved. Loved enough that Jesus saw past the myriad issues that surrounded his life and simply saw a person in need.

You may be going through so much. Life may have handed you a rough deal, or it may have started out ok, but gradually be getting messier and messier. Sometimes that can make us feel full of shame, especially as on occasion people see us as problems that need solving. But Jesus says, do not be ashamed, you are not a problem to solve, but a person to love and I love you.

Surely even in the midst of life's mess, we can know the glory of God: Love. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.