“… 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.
author Alicia Bruxvoort