In The Midst Of The Chaos…

As I look at the world just now, the main thing I see is chaos.

There are the ongoing challenges with COVID-19 and the effects of the restrictions. Vaccines have brought hope, but even when the threat of the virus is reduced, there are concerns that the ongoing impact of the lockdown on people’s education, finances and mental health will be severe.  Various political situations add to the general chaos, as do issues such as racism and climate change, and it’s easy for it to feel overwhelming.

As I’ve read the Bible this week, I’ve been looking at a couple of passages that speak into that.

One is found in John 11 where Jesus receives a message from his dear friends Mary and Martha, telling him that their brother Lazarus is very sick. By this point, Jesus has healed many people, so it seems only natural that he will go and heal Lazarus, but he delays for two days.

Then when he finally decides to go, his disciples begin to panic. He can’t go back to Judea – the people there recently tried to stone him to death – but Jesus insists.

I imagine it all felt a bit chaotic to the disciples, that they were confused by Jesus’ initial response but also afraid of what lay ahead in Judea. The news of Lazarus’ death and Martha and Mary’s individual, but word-for-word-the-same greetings to Jesus can only have deepened the sense that it had all gone badly wrong: “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21,32 NLT)

Nothing had turned out as they expected or hoped, and they must have wondered what Jesus was doing.

The second passage is in the Old Testament, in the book of Esther. Already dealing with the challenges of being in exile far from home, and facing the deaths of both her parents, Esther is taken from her normal life to the palace along with many other young women and eventually chosen to be queen of Persia.

Then a man called Haman rises to power and, upset that Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, doesn’t give him the respect that he feels is due, plots to destroy not only Mordecai, but all of the Jews living in Persia.

The king is quick to agree to Haman’s plan, and a date is appointed for the Jews to be killed.

“Then the king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa fell into confusion.” (Esther 3:15 NLT)

Confusion is probably an understatement. Once again there’s that sense of chaos. It seems that evil is going to win, and justice will not be done.

Two things strike me from these stories though: one relating to God and the other relating to the response he looks for from us.

The first is simple: God is still in charge.

No matter how out-of-control and chaotic it felt to the disciples, to Mary and Martha, and to Esther and Mordecai as they lived through these situations, God had not lost control.

He knew from the start that he would raise Lazarus from the dead and he already had a plan to deliver the Jews from Haman.

When we look at these people’s stories, we have the benefit of seeing the full picture. We can see how God is working, bringing good out of evil. Even in the book of Esther, where God’s name is not even mentioned, he is so clearly still in charge of events, but it’s important to remember that it didn’t necessarily seem that way to the people at the time.

When you’re in the middle of the story, you don’t know how it will turn out.

And that’s where the response comes in – God calls us to faith.

Even in the midst of the chaos and uncertainty, the response God looks for is faith, and I love that the faith displayed in these stories is so imperfect and realistic.

The disciples still don’t understand what Jesus is doing, but they have the faith to stick with him and accompany him to Judea, even though it looks like the result will be death. Mary and Martha are full of grief and disappointment, but they still hold onto the hope that Jesus is the Messiah and believe that he has the power to do something. Esther is fearful and reluctant but she steps up to go before the king to plead the Jews’ cause.

There are no guarantees of a favourable outcome, but all of them choose faith.

It makes me wonder: where is God at work in the chaos we see around us just now? It gives me hope that he may be working in ways that we can’t yet see. It reassures me that he has not lost control.

And it challenges me to consider: where is God calling me to act in faith – to step out even in the midst of the chaos and uncertainty, trusting him to lead?

“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” (1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT)

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20 thoughts on “In The Midst Of The Chaos…

  1. Leslie, thank you for this post as it encourages me today as I face the challenges of my week. God is still in charge, calling us to faith right in our current circumstances. He is a faithful God and all He does is good and for our good and growth.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “God is in charge” is something we need to remember now more than ever. What we consider a favorable outcome may not be what God had in mind. God works in His time, not our time. Thank you for this beautiful and timely reminder, Leslie.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lesley, Praise be to God, for he is indeed in charge and has everything under control. So beautifully Spoken. Sometimes it can’t be seen because we get distracted by the chaos. However, as we continue to draw nearer to him, be still, quiet in his presence, meditate on his word, and take time to pause and reflect we see he is indeed in control. Lesly, thank you for your insights and encouraging words. Blessings.
    Visiting from Let’s Have Coffee.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lesley, so grateful with you that in the midst of all the crazy that defines our world these days, that God is in charge, He knows the end of the story.

    Our lives are in His hands. And there’s no place we’d rather be …

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh Lesley, just before I read this, I had written 1 Corinthians 13:12 down. I sometimes have such a driving need to understand, and I was asking God to help me let it go and trust Him and His plan and His timing. And then I read your encouraging post and insight into Bible passages. I sometimes wonder, too, where God is in the chaos. Thank you for reminding me that He is working in ways we can’t yet see and we just need to keep following Him. Won’t that be wonderful when we see Him face to face? Where there will no longer be chaos and confusion? Love and blessings to you, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 1 Corinthians 13:12 is one of my favourite verses – I’m glad God used it to speak to you too. It is so hard to let go of the desire to understand sometimes. It is encouraging to know that it will all make sense one day. Love and blessings to you too!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Great post Lesley! God is definitely in charge! Which is something we need to remember in all circumstances. What we think a situations outcome should be may not be what God has ever had in mind. God’s timing & Will in all things, not ours 😉
    Bless you,
    Jennifer

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Amen, Lesley. This is why I love reading stories of how God has worked in people’s lives over time … it strengthens my faith in the fact that He always finishes what He starts, in His way and in His timing. Hugs, friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is such an important truth to hold on to–that God is in charge, no matter the circumstances. Our church had just read through several of the prophetical books of the Bible last year, and so often He allowed pestilence and enemies to discipline His people. The fact that God allowed such hard circumstances helped prepare me for the last several months. I don’t know His reasons for all that He is allowing now, but I hold onto the truth that His ways are higher than ours and He is still in charge even though things look chaotic.

    Liked by 1 person

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