I was debating about whether I should wash my car or not. I decided to wait until later in the week because I wanted to take it to a car show on Saturday night. I love my Mustang convertible. I like to go out for a little drive on sunny days. Unfortunately, my schedule was full for the day. So the car sat at the church all morning.

I finished the project I was working on and headed out to get lunch. That’s when I noticed the mess. It looked like a wayward bird had used my car for target practice. There was a disgusting white blob plastered across the hood. It was bad. I immediately began to panic at the corrosive nature of the bird dropping.

Maybe he was teasing me, but when I got the car a friend told me that bird droppings really wreak havoc with a car’s finish. He told me that if it ever happened to me, I needed to remove it as soon as possible. I panicked. The problem was that I had a full schedule for the rest of the afternoon. There was no way I could get to a carwash.

I’m usually pretty good with the car. I keep it clean. I park in the garage. I choose my spots well when I have to park in a public lot. I never settle under telephone lines or next to a building if I can help it. So I never expected to run into trouble like this. There was no forewarning. I just happened to be in the wrong spot at the wrong time.

That’s the thing about messes. They usually come out of the blue. They often come in the midst of our busyness. They add to our stress and we end up dwelling on them. I kept seeing that blob and could hardly concentrate on anything else. It was so silly and yet, so frustrating. It was only a car. But it was my car!

That’s when I remembered something a friend had told me. I had just shared that he was going in for minor surgery. He said, “Cal, do you know the difference between minor and major surgery?” I said, “No.” He explained, “Minor surgery is when it happens to someone else. Major surgery is when you are having it done.”

The truth is that when your life is a mess, it weighs on you in a way that no one else can understand. It sticks with you all the time. It is corrosive. Many of us have been there. The good news is that we have a God who majors in clean-up. He sent his son into the world to clean up our messes and to bring forgiveness and new life.

Jesus said in Matthew 18, “Come to me, all who are weary and carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest.” Are you struggling with the consequences of your past? Take it to the Lord in prayer. Give it to Jesus.

That mess will be history. He will clean it up. He will turn you around. You will be blessed with his peace, love and grace. That’s his promise and Jesus always keeps his promises.

The Rev. Cal Lord is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Westerly.

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