As kids perhaps some of us made mud pies. We found old containers, got dirt and added water and stirred. Then we let them “bake” in the sun and viola! mud pies. There was even a neighborhood kid who tried eating them. That is a whole different story. But you know, we kids are not the only ones who played with mud. In John chapter nine we read the story of a man who was blind from birth. Jesus, the disciples and a crowd were walking along a roadway and they came upon this man. No doubt he was begging to get money to live. The disciples wanted to know who had sinned, the man or his parents. It was common thought that if someone suffered from an illness or major issues someone had sinned and this was their punishment. But Jesus surprised them. He said no one had sinned. God was going to use this man for His glory. Here is where the mud comes in. Jesus made mud with his spit and some of the dirt from the ground. The same kind of ground God created humans out of in the first place. Jesus made this man new eyes. Eyes that could see. Can you even begin to imagine seeing the world for the first time after having been blind your whole life?!
And Jesus did this with mud. Which means He is not afraid to be with us anyplace we might find ourselves. If you ever watched old westerns you may have heard someone say they were lower than a snake's belly. Meaning they were as low in the dirt as you could go. Jesus goes there too...into the dirt of our lives. Sometimes when we are that low, it is hard to see anything good. There is dust in our eyes. There is hopelessness...no way out. But remember, Jesus likes to play in the dirt and mud. Whether at creation or healing blind men, Jesus works well in dirt and mud. He is in the dirt and mud of our lives. We may not be able to see it at the time, but when life goes haywire, Jesus is there. The blind man received new eyes to see. Sometimes we need new eyes to see too. We need new eyes to see an opportunity. We need new eyes to see that those we thought discarded us in fact still love us. We need new eyes to see the beauty God has created and given to us. There is much to be seen with new eyes.
Sometimes Jesus gave people new ears so they could hear. That too is miraculous. Picture hearing a loved one's voice for the first time, or a bird singing. Imagine hearing Handel’s Messiah for the very first time or the call of the shofar in the temple. Sometimes we need new hearing too. We need to drown out the voices that tell us we are not good enough, smart enough, fast enough, pretty or handsome enough. That hearing needs to be replaced by ears that hear we are beloved sons and daughters of the King of kings and the Lord of lords. We need to be able to hear the whisper of the still small voice of God, the answers to prayers and His Word spoken out loud.
Other times we have received new thinking. Too often we get caught up in doing things the way we always have. That may no longer be efficient, practical or necessary. It may be out dated or off putting even. One of the creeds of the church is...we have always done it that way, or it's cousin, we have never done it that way before. But when you think about Jesus teaching...then or now...it is all about thinking and looking and hearing things differently. From the Good Samaritan and how we treat our neighbors to the woman caught in adultery that the people wanted to stone. Jesus said OK fine but let the one who is without sin throw the first stone. And one by one, you could hear the thud of the stones hitting the ground as the people walked away. Jesus ascended into heaven nearly 2,000 years ago but His teaching still rings in our ears. We are called to look at the world differently than those who do not believe. Hopefully we also think differently about people as well.
The next time you lose sight of where you are going or what you are called to do...the next time you cannot hear the voice of the Lord in your life...the next time someone gets into your head and all you have is stinking thinking...remember that Jesus is in the dirt and the mud with you. He uses that dirt and mud...the challenges and frustrations of our lives to make us new once again. It isn't always an easy process. In fact, if you remember, mud is messy. As kids that was part of the fun. As adults maybe not so much. But that mud will change everything. Mud brings opportunities and new beginnings. And it is a reminder that God continues to work in our lives, shaping and molding us into the beloved sons and daughters He has created us to be.
In His Grip
Pastor Matt W