Thursday, February 24, 2011

Standing in the Chaos

The world feels pretty out of control right now.  It seems as if it’s crumbling everywhere.  On every continent there is anger spilling out in alarming ways.  Listening to the news is frightening as the unrest spreads from country to country, accelerating as it goes.  How long before the whole earth just crashes into the sea?
The fact is, ever since the Fall, the world has been falling apart, filled with pain and strife and death.  Today’s news is somewhat different, but also eerily the same as always.  Read a few years’ worth of history from any time period, and you find war, death, disease, hatred.  And the innocent, the poor, the weak are the ones who suffer the most as ‘the powers that be’ wage war against each other. 
I don’t know about you, but part of me just wants to hide.  Turn off the news and pretend that since it is not currently at my front door, I don’t need to worry about it.  I mean, there’s plenty of stuff going on in my own life, and in the lives of those I love.  I honestly don’t have to emotional energy to be grieving people I’ve never met.  It's all so huge, and I am so small.
The overwhelming needs press in and I become paralyzed.  After all, since I cannot save the world, what’s the point of doing anything?  Ah, that is my problem, isn’t it?  I am not called to save the world.  I am called to be a part of a larger battle, but I am not the commander.  Jesus gave up His life to bring the world salvation, to begin breaking in with God's Kingdom.  This is the commission He gave us, to carry His Kingdom message out into this broken world.  But, it is always His message, His power, His commands we follow. 
As a Christ-follower, I know the ultimate victory is assured.  This doesn’t lessen the fact that these are frightening times.  Satan is active in the world, doing all he can to disrupt and discourage the work of those following Jesus.  I know that there may be casualties along the way.  To pretend otherwise is a lie.  Wait.  Look around, Kim.  There are casualties right now!  As I sit here typing there are people suffering and dying.
The apostle Paul got it.  When I read his letters, they pulsate with such a sense of urgency.  I don’t know about you, but I get the feeling he believed Jesus was coming back any day, and he had to get out there and do his part in fulfilling the Great Commission before Jesus returned.  He did not want to be found lacking. 
What about me?  Does my life reflect my belief Jesus is coming back soon?  (And if it was ‘soon’ 2,000 years ago, how much sooner is it now?!)  Will all this unrest finally push me to see that I can depend on nothing but the One who made and controls all things?  As scary as it is, this chaos can be a gift if it gets me up off my sanctified backside.  Up first to fall on my knees confessing my fear and hesitation.  Confessing I don’t like to be uncomfortable.  Confessing I don’t want to be in this mess. 
But I cannot spend my life on my knees.  I am called to stand up, gear up, and engage.  And not all alone.  Through Jesus, we now have the Holy Spirit’s presence living in us.  In Him alone can I find the strength to first defeat my own complacency, and then have the courage to stride with Him into the battle.  If it was important enough to Jesus that He endured torture and death, if it was important enough to God to turn away from His Son, permitting the created to kill their Creator, shouldn’t it matter to me, too?
So, perhaps these frightening, unsure times truly are a gift from God.  A gift because they may strip away all the things I look to for security.  Strip them away and leave me with nothing.  No, not with nothing.  When all else is gone, perhaps I will finally acknowledge the only One sure thing there really ever is.  Knowing that He is with me can give me courage to face these crashing, crumbling, chaotic times.   
I love these words from The Odes of Solomon (a collection of First Century AD psalms and hymns written by some of the earliest believers in Jesus – check out for more info).  This is our comfort and hope, though everything we know and see now should perish, we can stand because God is with us.  We may die in the flesh, but even then, we will not truly die because the Lord is our Salvation! 
“Indeed my confidence is upon the Lord, and I will not fear.
And because the Lord is my salvation, I will not fear.
And He is as a woven crown upon my head, and I shall not be shaken.
Even if everything should be shaken, I shall stand firm.
And though all things visible should perish, I shall not die;
Because the Lord is with me, and I with Him.
Hallelujah.”    (Ode 5:10-15)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the encouragement today. That Ode resonates with me as well..."Even if everything should be shaken, I shall stand firm..."