Putting the Blessing in Dysfunctional

I was reading Genesis 29-31 this week and my commentaries struck on an idea.

First, to summarize, Jacob and his family are a mess. They’re a dysfunctional, jealous, lying, cheating, conniving, bragging, deceitful bunch of misfits that drag other people into their family drama. They’re extended family brings the heat as well with their own brand of deceitful trickery, which only adds to the chaos of Jacob’s life.

But here’s the kicker: God still used them. God’s purposes were still being accomplished even in that moral swamp. Judah would grow to become a leader and the ancestor of kings. Joseph would save his family. The Israelites would teach the world how to live and worship the one true God. And how did it all start? With a big, messy family… that God blessed.

Here’s to your messy family. May God bless you and turn your chaos into riches and your sorrow into joy. May he turn your business into productivity, and your rest into refreshment. May he bless your family’s efforts to reach others in His name.

God uses messy families, even yours, even mine.

Photo Credit: FUNnel Vision – FGTeeV: 300 CUPCAKES CHALLENGE! w Surprise FUNnel Vision Kids Get Messy via YouTube

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God, the Impressionist

My mother has a theory that the great Impressionist painters were all near-sighted. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be near sighted, stand close to an impressionist painting, and you’ll get the idea. Everything is blurred, colors and fuzzy shapes take the main stage in order to give an impression of the scene being painted. Detail isn’t important, but rather the state of mind and emotional interaction with the painting.

That said, I had a thought this morning. As humans, we often get frustrated and angry with God because we can’t see why he’s doing what he’s doing. We find ourselves in difficult circumstances, struggling with relationships, or trying to muddle through life. Even those people who have a clear-cut purpose and goal can find themselves shaking their fist and wondering what God has in mind. But, what if God’s an Impressionist painter?

See, Impressionists would paint with bold brush strokes, often leaving amazing textures on their canvases. If you get up close to the canvas, shapes disappear and everything looks like a chaotic mess of brushstrokes and color. Nothing seems pretty or artistic, but the further back one steps from the painting, the clearer the subject becomes.

Our lives often seem chaotic, unruly, uncontrolled, but I think much of that is a lack of perspective. Yes, tragedy happens and there is no discounting that fact. Those times are especially difficult. Sometimes, though, I think we are looking at the brushstrokes, the valleys and chasms created by the master strokes of a brilliant painter creating a masterpiece so amazing we would have trouble truly comprehending it.

God does want us to enjoy life, to enjoy the creation he spoke into existence. He does love it when we smile, laugh, sing, dance, and eat together. He also knows that we will have trials and struggles and teaches us through those.

When have you had a time when you went through a troubling period and discovered after the fact that you had grown in the process? How has that struggled allowed you to speak comfort and strength into the lives of others?