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Life is messy

I used to share an office with a colleague. We worked together well but were very different in style, these differences being blatantly obvious to anyone who walked through the door. One desk would be completely clear other than the monitor, mouse and keyboard. The other would have drifts of paper, mugs, post-it notes, coins, pens and books liberally distributed across it. I will leave it to you to work out which was mine...
It's a personality thing mainly, I think, though sometimes training comes into it: neatness. Some of us can't cope with anything out of place and like everything organised 'just so' – I have one friend who puts labels on every plug so that he can immediately tell which belongs to which device. Some of you are thinking 'How OTT!', others, 'Why have I never thought of that? Where's the labelmaker?'. And you actually already own a labelmaker.
Most of us would like life to be neater and tidier in some respects: we'd like fewer loose ends, fewer nasty unpredictable surprises, less heartache. But life isn't like that. However neat and tied down we'd like it to be, all of us live with situations which are messy and mixed up. Whether they're relationships or regrets, things aren't always neat.
That's been true for most people for most of human history and it's one of the reasons why the Bible, despite telling us about events thousands of years ago, is still fascinating: it shows us that even people who experience amazing things and blessings, still have messy lives. David, king and conqueror, who had messed-up relationships with his sons; Peter, the great apostle, who wimped out at key moments.
It's one of the reasons we run something called Messy Church: people who belong to church aren't people who have sorted their lives out and got everything neat and tidy, they're people who rely on Jesus to help sort out their mess and keep going when things are tough.

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