Beautiful Mess
By Anthony Casperson

Snow cascaded upon the road as the soon-to-turn-arctic chill howled across the nearby expanse. I drove the school bus down the final stretch of road back to base on Tuesday afternoon. My first day of work this week nearly complete. Monday’s discount blizzard continued its ivory onslaught on civilization even as the temperature prepared to plummet.

Yet in that moment, I saw the beauty of creation, while being reminded of the work of the cross. The pure white overtaking the man-made darkness. Human contrivances attempting to sully the purity, only to be absorbed by the spotless white once again.

I relished in the thought…but only for a short time.

Wednesday’s frigid temperature, with windchill in the –40s, produced the winds of winter. (And I’m not talking about a George R. R. Martin book here.) Nearly everything shut down for the second day this past week. And Thursday followed suit.

It sounds like a miserable mess. I’m sure there are people who suffered from the wintry extremes this week. Some who went without heat, some without water, some without a full payday. (I know the last one, because there’s no need for a bus driver if there’s no school.) But that quickly-forgotten shot of beauty from Tuesday swung back around late this week, hitting me harder than the gusts outside.

There were many things I had to do this week. And a whole lot more upcoming on my mind. I wondered how I would find the time to get it all done. (I didn’t even have an idea for this week’s blog until the night before my self-imposed deadline.) But these few days gave me time to accomplish some of the things I needed to do. They afforded me a resource I hadn’t counted on.

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a “just focus on your blessings” kind of post. I know well that there are still many issues that need to be dealt with in the coming weeks and months. These few days of pressure release aren’t the greatest miracle I could ever hope for. But they reminded me of the beauty of God’s work in our lives even as the difficult times rage around us.

A focused view of only the blessings of our life allows us to be blindsided by the harsh gusts of reality around us. Yet, centering our thought processes on the coldness of our situation causes us to miss out on the vision of beauty God has for us. It’s when we take a holistic view, a panoramic of the path we tread, that we can fully appreciate the beautiful mess we find ourselves in.

Beautiful because of the cross. Jesus’ sacrifice allows us to participate in the amazingly beautiful work of God. Mess because of sin. The fullness of the Kingdom of God has not yet come, while sin is in its death throes.

We often find ourselves in difficult and harsh times, but there is always beauty for we who worship the God from whom all glory flows. Seek beauty in the mess, but don’t forget one as we focus on the other.