Sometimes it’s really easy to focus on the negative. To project fear into the future. To imagine the worst possible outcome in any messy, confusing, unresolved, disappointing or difficult situation. This is my natural tendency. So much so that I have lovingly nicknamed myself Worst Case Kathy. I naturally look at everything with a critical eye, when I supernaturally need to fix my eyes on the creative power of God to take anything—ANYTHING—and turn it into something of eternal value, even beauty. Sometimes it helps to project a worst case scenario before The Counselor and ask Him to sanctify my imagination. I need His eyes to picture possibilities I had never dreamt of and show me how He could actually redeem what looks broken or pointless. I know that He is able to do far more than I could ever ask or imagine. Thank you, Alicia Bruxvoort, for the reminder.
If It’s Not Fabulous, God’s Not Finished
by Alicia Bruxvoort
“… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 (NIV)
“I’m gonna make something fabulous,” my daughter, Maggie, announced one rainy morning before heading to the basement in search of crafting supplies.
I peered over the pile of laundry I was folding and flashed my 8-year-old an encouraging smile. “Okay. I’ll be down to check on you soon.”
Later, when I walked down the stairs, I found my creative one sitting in the middle of an unruly mess. I couldn’t spy anything fabulous, but I could clearly see the giant jumble of paint splats and glue puddles, tape wads and paper scraps that framed my daughter’s workspace.
I sighed at the sight of the mayhem and assumed my daughter’s fabulous plans were falling short. I bent low to pick up a handful of plastic beads that were scattered across the floor like brightly colored dewdrops.
Then, I tapped Maggie’s shoulder and asked, “How’s it going?” I figured my girl would voice her discouragement and ask for help in cleaning up the disaster at hand. But, much to my surprise, she turned to me with a sparkle in her eyes and a streak of orange paint in her hair and declared, “It’s going great! I’m making a masterpiece.”
The wary raise of my eyebrows must have broadcast my doubt, because my daughter set down her paint brush and calmly held my gaze. She swept her hand across the daunting disarray and murmured these words of assurance: “Don’t worry, Mom. It’s not fabulous, ’cause I’m not finished.”
I let my daughter’s confident words echo through my mind, and suddenly, a lump of unexpected tears rose soundless in my throat. How many times has God whispered the same sentiment to my discouraged soul? “Don’t worry, daughter. It’s not fabulous, ‘cause I’m not finished.”
When my dreams lay in shreds or my best plans come unraveled, when my loved ones suffer or my heart aches heavy … could it be I’m not staring at a faulty finish but merely eyeing a messy middle? When our circumstances look more woeful than wonderful, might God still be at work?
The Bible declares God will make all things beautiful in their time (Ecclesiastes 3:11) and that He is working all things for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). But when life gets messy and hard, it’s easy to doubt these promises for ourselves.
However, I learned something about hope that day my daughter began her fabulous project. When I turned to leave Maggie in the middle of her mess, I heard her humming a happy tune while she worked. And suddenly, I realized what made her sing: Where I see pandemonium, my little artist spies possibility. Where I spy havoc, she sees hope.
And so it is with God. God views every mess as a masterpiece in the making.
When our faithful Father looks at our lives, He does not see the bedlam that is, but the beauty that will be. And like a little artist I know, our patient Maker will not stop mid-design or call it quits in the chaos. According to our key verse, He will finish the good work He’s started. God won’t give up until it’s glorious.
So next time it looks like the Lord’s best plans are falling short, let’s fix our eyes on our Maker instead of our mayhem. Let’s cling to His promises and stand firm on His faithfulness.
And, according to 8-year-old wisdom, if we’re struggling to see God’s handiwork in the havoc, we can rest assured of this: If it isn’t fabulous, God isn’t finished.
Dear God, please give me faith to trust You even when life feels messy. Give me eyes to see glimpses of the fabulous work You are doing in me and in the world around me. I want to stand on Your promises, not fall prey to fear and doubt. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
For more encouragement, join Alicia Bruxvoort at her blog: click HERE
Rooted in Truth Scriptures: “… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:1-3
Growing in Love Application: What “mess” is causing you to doubt God’s goodness right now? Have a candid conversation with Jesus, and ask Him for faith to believe He’s creating beauty in the bedlam.
Who do you know that needs hope in their havoc? Take time to reach out this week with a word of encouragement, a biblical promise, a prayer.
Look: Click HERE to view the beautiful redemption of useless, broken and discarded items by Artist, Jane Perkins