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.
You may not be able to bring order to all the big problems that keep you up at night. This is where our hope for eternity is so audacious: it is a bold hope—an expectation—that God can and will make all things right in the Lord’s time and in the Lord’s way.
This is one of the reasons why the story of creation in the Bible is so important. It reminds us that the Lord brought order to the universe, and reordered the swells of chaos to such a grand and intricate extent that the conditions for human life were made possible. In everything from our planet’s very specific orbit to the way molecules interact with each other shows how God brought order to our universe, from the cosmic elements to the subatomic. Despite our vast amounts of scientific knowledge, we have only scratched the surface in understanding the world in which we live. Yet again and again we find an order to things. As we stand in awe of this, we should be reminded that it was the Lord who did it all.
There is another point from the creation story that is worth thinking about. The way, we are told, that the Lord created our world is through speaking. God spoke his magnificent word, and everything that has been made came into existence at the Lord’s command. Interesting, then, to remember that the Bible is also referred to as God’s word, and indeed it contains within its pages truths and stories that have the power to give life to our souls. Not that the pages are so mystical, no not the book itself. Rather, it is the person whom all these stories point to— Jesus, who John says is “the word made flesh”.
The first five verses of the Gospel of John say,
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
How amazing that the world was created through God’s Word, and then, as John writes in verse 14, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” God did not just create our world and then leave us to our own devices. God’s Word incarnate, Jesus, came to earth in person.
In the beginning God brought order to chaos. Then in Jesus, God came to earth to conquer to ultimate chaos: death itself. What is more chaotic and unknown than death? What is more tragic, heart-wrenching, and grief-inducing than losing one’s beloved to the grave?
In 1 Corinthians 15:54-56, we read that, “Death has been swallowed up in victory,” and then the apostle Paul asks, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” This is a rhetorical question, but Paul gives us the answer anyway: “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The chaos of sin and death no longer holds sway over the children of God. Jesus taught, in John 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” We who follow Jesus are given a promise of eternal life, despite the fact that for now we may have to experience death.
We also have a promise of Christ’s return, and a future where Revelation 21:4 promises, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
So we see that in the creation of the world, God brought order to chaos. We see that the Lord has been active in the work of history, culminating in the coming of Jesus, who conquered the chaos of even death itself. And we are given a promise that Christ will come again and that God will banish death and pain forever. God demonstrated that he is trustworthy, and so we have every reason to believe that these promises will also come to pass.
When all hope seems lost, the followers of Jesus will still have reason to believe in a better tomorrow. When the darkness of chaos is pressing in, we stand firmly in the hands of Almighty God, the God who brought order.
The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:8-10, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”
We serve a God who brought order, and who promises to make all things right in the end.