Life is messy.
People make mistakes. People make poor choices. People sin.
The fabric of life is corrupted, interrupted, mixed and confused with messages, lies, misinformation, destructive paths, dysfunctional interactions, harmful experiences, and brokenness in indefinite variety.
The tapestry of your own life is not yet complete, but already as you look over the work that has been done you can see imperfections, flaws, holes, tears, and ragged edges beyond repair and long since out of reach. You can see areas of perfection and exquisite beauty surrounded and compromised by ugliness and incompetence, messed up by the influence of others and your own lack of good judgment or insight.
Life is messy.
So what are you going to do about it?
Run away? Avoid it? Deny it? Ignore it?
Maybe you believe your role is to go back and rework every error, undo every flaw, smooth over every rough patch, and disguise every imperfection.
If so, do you believe you have to fix it because you have to deserve God’s love? Are you concerned that maybe you need to earn God’s attention or prove you are worth God’s time and investment?
Let me ask you this, what does God see when He looks at you?
Because I’m here to tell you, God sees it all — Nothing is hidden. Nothing is obscure.
God sees you in full detail, sharp focus, and with such clarity and accuracy that He sees things that even you haven’t noticed or observed about yourself.
So you might find yourself asking the same question that the prophet Malachi asked himself,
“…who will be able to endure it when He comes? Who will be able to stand and face Him when He appears? For He will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes. He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the LORD.” – Malachi 3
Should you be worried? Should you be concerned? Should you just give up now? Or, should you try to reform and make everything right so that God will find a just and righteous person when He looks at you?
Malachi was clearly worried that no one deserves God’s blessing. And yet, look again at what Malachi says, “who will be able to endure it when He comes? Who will be able to stand and face Him when He appears?”
Although it sounds like Malachi is implying that no one can stand and face God, no one is worthy to endure God’s presence or measure up to God’s standard, in actuality as he continues, Malachi highlights the key reality about how God looks at people. God sees the mess and God embraces it.
God is not requiring you to fix yourself. God is not asking you to purify yourself so that you can deserve His goodness. That is God’s work.
God is coming to purify, elevate, heal, and strengthen you. God is coming to save you, to restore you, to lift you up, and to make you worthy — not because you earned it, but simply because you want it and He wants to give it to you.
When God looks at you he sees gold and silver mixed into a mess. Dirty? Yes. Flawed? Yes. Full of imperfections and carrying around the baggage of dross? Yes.
But God knows the greatest secret about you, and that is that fundamentally you are a treasure, like Gold or Silver. A treasure that can be refined and drawn through and out of the mess, the dirt, the flaws, the imperfections, and the dross you find yourself in today. A treasure that can be sifted and extracted from every mistake, every error, every sin, every harm, every damage, every piece of baggage and ugly moment in your history. A treasure that can be saved, not by your own justification, your own work, your own effort, or your own purity, but by the overwhelming goodness and power of the presence and work of God.
“For He will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes. He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. He will purify…” – Malachi 3
You may not have the energy, the ability, or the power to fix your mess, resolve your issues, eliminate your baggage, heal your wounds, or correct your flaws, but that is okay because God is ready to do it for you.
The Bible doesn’t say the gold or silver refines itself. The Bible doesn’t say that God rejects the gold and silver when He discovers its flaws and the dirt and stone and imperfections that run through out. On the contrary, the Bible says that God sees the gold and silver in the midst of the mess, mixed and complicated, flawed and compromised, dirty and ashamed, broken and sinful and God takes it up in His hands and burns away the mistakes, the hurts, the failures, the defeats, the challenges, the obstacles, the sins and the grimy mess to reveal the flawless treasure that He knows is within.
God is not offended by your mess. God is not put off by your imperfections. God is not deterred by your baggage, your history, or your context.
When God looks at you He sees a priceless treasure mixed among the mess. And far from stopping Him, God is ready, willing, and able to do the work to draw that diamond out of the rough.
God knows you better than anyone. God sees absolutely everything there is to know about you. God understands completely everything that you have ever done and everything that has ever been done to you. God knows every sequence of your DNA and the placement of every cell in your body. God knows every thought and every memory. God knows every feeling and every dream. There is literally not anything that God doesn’t know about you, the people around you, your context, your history, your character. God knows it all.
God sees the mess — all of it — and God chooses to embrace it.
God embraces the mess.
Sitting as a refiner of silver and gold, God embraces the mess to reveal to you and to others the treasure He created you to be.
You are the gold. You are the silver. You are the treasure that God is looking to invest. You are the treasure that God is going to use to have an impact on your circumstances, to bring His kingdom into your situation, to receive His blessings into your context and relationships, and to reveal His salvation into your life.
God isn’t asking you to be pure, God is asking you to be present, available, and willing because God says that when He comes the people He works with
“…will be my people…On the day when I act in judgment, they will be my own special treasure.” – Malachi 3
God doesn’t refine the gold and silver because He believes it deserves it, earns it, achieves it, or purifies itself. God refines the gold and silver because He knows their intrinsic value, recognizes their explicit situation, and desires to extract and so reveal their fundamental character and quality. All the gold and silver has to do is be present, available, and willing and God accomplishes the rest.
God already knows you. God already sees you. God already understands you.
You don’t have anything to prove, anything to explain, anything to excuse or hide or justify.
God recognizes your value and God is ready to do the work to reveal you as the treasure you are.
God is ready to embrace the mess because the mess doesn’t actually compromise the fundamental quality of the treasure He created you to be.
So don’t be afraid of the mess. Don’t shy away from or try to hide, forget, ignore, or obscure the mess. Embrace the mess. Be present, available, and willing in the mess because God knows your fundamental value and your core character — and God is ready to reveal to you and the world the priceless treasure He created you to be.