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When Life is a Mess
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Photo: Ou Fei
When I was two years old, I was sitting in my Dad’s car at a service station. I was fascinated as I watched one of the attendants polishing a customer’s car. After the man had applied the polish to the car and allowed it to dry, it looked like one big mess. But as he wiped it off with a clean polish cloth, I was amazed. The car’s finish sparkled.

My little mind was working. I could do that, I thought. I could make my Dad’s car look like a new one. While trying to figure how to do this, one day it rained. This left puddles of yellow Texas mud. Just what I needed for my polish job, I thought. Dad’s car was parked in the driveway. Dad was in the house reading his newspaper. I knew this was my big chance to surprise him. A big mud puddle was next to the car, so this made my job easier.

I didn’t have a cloth to apply the mixture, but my chubby little hands did the job. I spread the mud on in a circular motion, just as I had seen the man do it as the service station. I reached up as high as a two-year-old could. The car seemed much bigger than I had thought.

Mud Polish

I had no polish cloth, but I figured that if I did the hard work, Dad wouldn’t mind wiping it off. After all, that would be the easy part.  I couldn’t wait to share my excitement. Running into the house, I exclaimed, “Daddy, I polished your car!” Dad came quickly to inspect. He was surprised, all right. But I remember he didn’t seem as excited as I had thought he’d be. I don’t remember how Dad cleaned up the mess I’d made. But the car looked good again when he was finished.

I’m sure that God often is disappointed when we mess up things in our lives, or in the lives of others. But when it’s in our heart to do right and obey Him, and we’ve put forth our best efforts to do so, He accepts this as our best service. Then, in His great love for us, He makes up for our lack.

The Bible says, “God…sent His own Son…In His Son, Jesus, He personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all” (Romans 8:3, 4).

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By Bob DuBose. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE ®.


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