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Jun 25, 2020 14:00pm
Cleaning up the mess
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Oh, what a mess you’ve made.

I was young, maybe in the third grade, and my mom came into my room. It was a mess – you could hardly get through the door. In my defense, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who had caused the disaster, but I was the one who was blamed. My mom told me I had to get it clean and I’m sure an argument of some kind ensued as I tried to weasel out of doing what needed to be done because I remember sitting on the floor crying. 

I was overwhelmed at the mess that lay before me: school papers, books, toys, clothes, plates, cups, pillows, crayons, shoes, you name it, it was a mess.

So, I did what any kid would do. Right now, you’re thinking, “good for her! She listened to her momma and she got to cleaning!” 

Well, see, you’d be wrong. Instead, I wallowed in my self-pity and continued to cry. I even got angry. I even started throwing things, making even more of a mess by having a tantrum. 

I kept hoping my mom would walk in and see how bad my room was and would decide to help me clean it up. She came back once, and you can imagine her reaction when she saw I had shown no effort whatsoever to cleaning my room. 

I wanted to run from my problem. 

I wanted the mess to disappear and for everything to be fixed. 

I did not want to face what lied before me.

In the book of Genesis, Hagar, Sarai’s handmaiden, is part of a big mess. 

Abram was promised to be the father of many nations, yet his wife Sarai is barren. Sarai decides to take matters into her own hands and produce the heir through her handmaiden. She gives Hagar to Abram to have a child with, Abram agrees, and Hagar conceives. 

So, what does Sarai do? She gets mad at her husband and blames him when Hagar acts contemptible towards her.


“Then Sarai said to Abram, ‘You are responsible for my suffering! I put my slave in your arms, and when she saw that she was pregnant, I became contemptible to her. May the Lord judge between me and you.’ Abram replied to Sarai, ‘Here, your slave is in your hands; do whatever you want with her.’ Then Sarai mistreated her so much that she ran away from her. The angel of the Lord found her by a spring in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. He said, ‘Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?’ She replied, ‘I’m running away from my mistress Sarai.’ The angel of the Lord said to her, ‘Go back to your mistress and submit to her authority.’ The angel of the Lord said to her, ‘I will greatly multiply your offspring, and they will be too many to count.’ The angel of the Lord said to her, ‘You have conceived and will have a son. You will name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard your cry of affliction. This man will be like a wild donkey. His hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand will be against him; he will settle near all his relatives.’ So she named the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are El-roi,’ for she said, ‘In this place, have I actually seen the one who sees me?’ That is why the well is called Beer-lahai-roi. It is between Kadesh and Bered. So Hagar gave birth to Abram’s son, and Abram named his son (whom Hagar bore) Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to him.” (Genesis 16:5-16)

What a mess. 

The Angel of the Lord hears the cries of Hagar and comes to her. While He doesn’t take away her problems, He encourages her to face them and deal with it.

Some people believe all of our problems will go away if we become a Christian. The truth is far from it. However, the Lord promises to be right there with us in our hardest trials and that He will give us the strength to face our problems head on.

It’s hard to face reality and the messes we make in our lives. We want to put the blame elsewhere, but ultimately, we have to make the choice to start cleaning up. We have to be the ones who decide to do things differently.

What is your decision today? 

Are you looking at the mess you’ve made and crying in self-pity? Messes can be overwhelming, but Jesus’s love is more powerful than anything you can imagine. 

Let’s face our messes head on with the help of our Savior!

Copyright © 2020 by Yalanda Merrell. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from Lifeword.org.