A Masterful Mess
Have you ever been completely disappointed in God? I have, more than once. If you want to know the truth, I have been completely angry with Him a time or two. Sometimes it’s because He is silent and, at others, it’s because He says what I don’t want to hear. That’s where I am at right now. I am sometimes discouraged because I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what He is thinking or see what He is doing. Some days I wonder if He has lost His mind! Things that would be so easy for God to handle appear to stump Him. I find myself shaking my fist and quoting the psalmist: “How long, oh Lord, will you let my enemies triumph?”
The funny thing is, the "enemy" that frustrates me changes from day to day. One day it’s death and maybe the next day it’s just missing my mom. It drives me crazy to see all the things she has missed because death snagged her too soon. Then, there are still other days when sickness becomes the enemy as I sit and watch one of my dearest friends fight cancer for the THIRD time. Further still, there is the selfishness and unfaithfulness of congregants or my spouse and children who always seem to know just how to dance all over the one working nerve I may have functioning. Then, I can’t ignore the loneliness that sprouts as I serve in ministry, hours away from my extended family. Hearing about family dinners and activities impossible for me to participate in has a way of making this girl feel banished into the Siberian tundra.
But in my 43 years of living, I have figured one thing out: in the moments I think that God has made a complete debacle of life, He is actually in the middle of His best work. I’ve always heard that often, when an artist is in the throes of creating a masterpiece, his work in progress may look disorganized, sloppy, dark, and well, just a hot mess. But as the artist renders the vision only he or she can see, slowly out of the chaos comes a beauty that changes the viewer’s perspective.
...in the moments I think that God has made a complete debacle of life, He is actually in the middle of His best work.
Our loving, gracious, and sovereign God not only has a firm grip on the tools He is using to shape my life, but also His perception of my tiny canvas is on a scale so grand, it cannot be measured. His ability to remove the scales from my eyes so I can see my world through His eyes is nothing short of a miracle at times. With such compassion and gentleness He redirects my eyes, allowing me to refocus and look into His eyes and be reminded that, according to Psalm 121, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the maker of heaven and earth.”
Disappointment will come; that is a fact of life. But the question now becomes: how will we handle it? Do we throw up our hands and have an adult temper tantrum? Do we simply pick up our toys and find another sandbox in which to play? No. What if, in the middle of our disappointment and frustration, we stopped and allowed ourselves to be reminded that the same God that allows the breeze to blow our hair on the mountaintop is the EXACT SAME GOD who refines us and holds us when things don’t always go our way and we are lost in the deepest valley?
I can’t promise much in life, but I can promise that our vantage point changes and we see Him for the artisan He truly is. The safest yet most frightening realization for any human is that we are fallible and held by the only One who is perfect. His hand never trembles but, in steady rhythm, conducts a symphony of dissonant chords that create an opus that cannot be silenced by human critics.
The safest yet most frightening realization for any human is that we are fallible and held by the only One who is perfect.
My finite mind will never understand His ways but I have figured out that He is working for me--really, on me--and not against me. And sometimes that is all the knowledge I really need.
Stephanie Ayala and her husband, Edgar, have been married and in full-time ministry for 23 years. They have two children, Gabrielle and Jadon, and are the lead pastors of First Assembly of God (Longview, TX). Her ministry philosophy was shaped by a desperate need to know "leaders are broken people just like me in pursuit of a very perfect God". Stephanie's greatest passion in ministry is "loving people to Jesus one heart at a time. I try to communicate with a transparent and fun heart." In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys watching sports of any kind with her family and beach vacations.