Facing Chaos is a series of nine articles about what I have learned over the years about dealing with the chaos, pain, and darkness that at times seems to overtake our lives.
The Bible begins with these words:
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.” -Genesis 1:1-2 (emphasis mine)
In the ancient world, water was symbolic of chaos. The word translated as deep waters includes connotations of the grave, and what we translate as waters included meanings of danger or even violence.
One of the profound truths we can draw from this passage is that the one who created the world is a God who brought order out of chaos.
When sin entered the world only a couple of chapters later, we see that the order that God brought to the earth was tainted by sin, and chaos and pain were the result for every generation thereafter.
No matter what our problem may be, almost universally, part of the pain is standing before chaos and uncertainty. The chaos of what might be stares into our hearts, and our souls fear the many tumultuous unknowns that come with all the might be’s and what if’s.
The first thing we ought to recognize as we think about the problems of our world is that our world has a continual propensity towards chaos. Things we build fall apart.
Adam and Eve, even before sin entered the world, were made to be caretakers of the Garden of Eden. They were allowed to participate in bringing order to the world. Once sin entered the world, however, it unleashed chaos in ways that are still being felt today.
As we face problems in our world, we can look at them by examining the chaos they create, and we can look at the solution as a rearranging of things to bring order. When facing the chaos of poverty, for instance—where someone may not know where their next meal will come from—one will look for the reasons behind the poverty, and we may be able to help bring order to the underlying chaos.
We who are followers of Jesus partner with God—just like Adam and Eve—in helping create order in our world. This means that just like in the beginning of creation, we are not alone in this important work, but have the help of the Almighty in our task.
Yes, our sin unleashes chaos upon the world. But God, in his mercy, helps to bring order and peace back into our lives.