It’s all messy…
By Clayton Adams Birth, life and death are messy. What are we to do with the messes of life?
Birth is a very messy part of life. My first experience with this mess was the birth of my first son. Asemi-sterile room, stainless steel equipment, brilliant-white towels, all was spick and span, organized and ready for the delivery. After the delivery and while my wife held our son it was then I noticed just how messy the birthing process was. I hadn't expected that mess!
My father served in the United States Air Force and we moved from air base to air base as he was assigned. Believe it or not, a few times Air Force pilots would land their helicopters in the church ball field and attend church. After church, everyone gathered outside to watch these pilots take off. This and many other experiences provided a wonderful childhood for me.
We moved off our final air base in Jacksonville to a house in Sylvan Hills, just outside North Little Rock. While mowing the lawn or playing outside, we would often catch snakes for fun. I still enjoy chasing and catching snakes, I even teach my grandchildren to do this (when their parents aren't watching).
As a child and a teenager I was unconscious of the lasting affects moving from city to city and attending so many different schools would have in me. Life is messy, even positive experiences have negative effects.
I don't have life-long friends. We moved so often I never had the opportunity to make life-long friends. I am a stranger standing on the outside looking in on those who have life-long friends. Either my friends moved away, I moved away or my friends die. I miss my friends. Friendship and life are messy.
The first time I witnessed a person leaving this life and entering the next life, was with my wife at the bedside of her uncle. Suddenly, his body lurched up, he took a deep breath, let out a sigh of relief and passed. To me, it was a miracle, not at all messy. Messy deaths were to come later in my life.
I had the wonderful privilege of serving and working three years in the old Crittenden Regional Emergency department and it was there my faith was challenged and strengthened due to messy lives and deaths.
It was in those small trauma bays and emergency rooms that I learned so much about human nature, observed every kind of reaction to a friend or loved one passing. It was here I developed a compassion for the doctors, nurses, paramedics, and all of the folks providing medical services. I want to minister, honor and encourage them. I can say with great confidence and surety, the folks who provide the medical care we need are the ones that need the most care. Life is messy for everyone.
I think churches should be more like hospitals and less like clubs, schools, police stations or retirement communities. A good church is a hospital for the lonely, sick and spiritually wounded just like the medical clinic I work with. I am a very small part of a wonderful team of folks in a medical clinic where medicine, compassion, science and yes, faith are combined to heal. It is a messy mix sometimes but it is a blessed work.
Many times the wounds inflicted on the body can be healed but the healing of the injured and broken soul and spirit is God's work. Sometimes physical wounds are healed and sometimes they are not. Sometimes God heals and sometimes He does not. This is always messy.
If life does not turn out the way we think we blame God, our parents, friends, whoever happens to be standing in front of us. Sometimes we rightly blame ourselves. Life is messy. Are you in a mess?
God knows your thoughts and feelings and He can handle your fears, animosity, anger and your questions. Have you, like me messed up your life? God allows messy things in our lives so we can learn to trust in Him and become more like His Son, Jesus. What are you doing with the messes in your life?
Clayton Adams is pastor at Earle First Assembly of God. You can e- mail him at cpalaa@ yahoo. com, or find Earle First Assembly on Facebook.
‘AWord from the Pastor’