As a young dad, I had to learn the art of the diaper change. This was the one thing that I could contribute to during those early days with a baby in our home.
On one occasion, feeling overconfident in my parenting ability and with a deep desire to show my wife that I was ready to do more, I suggested that I take my daughter for a day away to give mom the opportunity to rest. What a hero! I mean me. Well, actually, all of us dads know that moms are the real heroes.
My little princess and I were out driving through the countryside, listening to lullabies and making our way to grandma’s house. You read this right. I am that smart. I decided to take my baby to my mom’s house for a little bit of extra help. As we drove along the road, my little one was making cute baby sounds in the back. I was so happy and so proud.
Suddenly, there was a sound in the rear of the car like the rumbling of thunder and a bubbling sound like a geyser in Iceland. The noise was immediately followed by the emergence of smell, and funny enough, the car immediately smelled like a geyser as well!
At this time in my life, I was driving a French car, a little Renault (notorious for their faulty electrics), and my car windows had blown a fuse. I couldn’t breathe! I had no choice but to pull the little three-door car to the side of the road and climb into the back to change the diaper. I was already dizzy from the steamy stench, and there was no way that I could make the trip all the way to my mom’s to enlist her expertise.
I grabbed the packet of baby wipes, took a deep breath and went deep into ground zero to begin the cleanup operation. After ten minutes or so, I emerged, relatively unharmed and having managed to get my daughter into fresh clothes, a new diaper, and a little shiny happy face. She was back to making cute baby noises, and I could get back on the road to my mom’s place.
Taking On Her Mess
When I got to Grandma’s house, I was greeted at the door by the biggest smile. My mom was not excited to see me but to see her little granddaughter looking perfect in pink and smelling fresh with that amazing little baby smell.
Then my mom smelled something that wasn’t quite right, and she looked at me. Without realizing it, in the chaos of the waste clean up in the back of my car, I had somehow managed to get covered in a whole bunch of baby poop. I didn’t realize at the time, but while I was cleaning up my little girl, her mess was getting all over me. There I was looking at my beautiful princess, cleaned up, with clean clothes and a shiny face from the baby wipes. She was perfect. I, on the other hand, well, I was now the messy one.
I’m sure many dads have had similar experiences.
Our Mess Becomes His Mess
The Apostle Paul uses a similar illustration to help his church understand the amazing work of Christ on our behalf. He entered into our messy lives, and he took all of that mess onto himself. This transaction left us clean, pure, perfect and holy. Christ makes us completely righteous before God, while he, on the cross, hangs in the darkness of our sin and shame.
He entered into our messy lives, and he took all of that mess onto himself.
Our mess becomes his mess. His perfect nature becomes our perfect nature.
What an amazing work. The Apostle Paul concluded, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV
A prayer for my brothers:
God, thank you for Jesus, my savior and my substitute. Thank you that he enters into my messy story and takes all that is mine and makes it his, and gives me all that is his. I’m in awe. Thank you for this incredible work.