Calm During These Days Of Chaos And Confusion
Several churches have been burned and vandalized as some, among those who were protesting police brutality, turned to rioting and looting in American cities. St. John Episcopal, a historic church directly behind the White House in Washington, D.C., was attacked Sunday night by protesters who set up a bonfire in front of the church. The fire later spread to the St. John's basement and an adjacent building owned by the church.
The widespread riots that have ensued have not only caused irreparable damage to property, but they've taken the lives of people.
It is through stories like these that we are reminded that our life here on earth is so very, very short. How do we know if we are going to be alive tomorrow? Each day we must seek to live our lives in the light of eternity and be Christ-like in all that we do and say. We need to keep praying and do all we can to help the needy and suffering.
The Lord is coming back soon. When we hear about such horrible incidents like this happening, it tells us the state of the world in which we live. More and more, we are confronted with sickness, chaos and uncontrollable situations around us. It’s important in these days that we keep in mind there is a real enemy, real demons and real struggles. The Bible tell us, “Know also this, that, in the last days, shall come dangerous times. Men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, haughty, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, wicked, Without affection, without peace, slanderers, incontinent, unmerciful, without kindness, Traitors, stubborn, puffed up, and lovers of pleasures more than of God: Having an appearance indeed of godliness, but denying the power thereof. Now these avoid.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5). More and more, we see these characteristics taking precedence in the worldviews around us, so much so that many of them have become normal, not an exception.
Being spiritual and godly does not give us a free pass from experiencing the turmoil in this age and the fruit of this sin we see so openly around us. Many people get confused, saying, “I am born-again, baptized, Spirit-filled and live for God. I give to God, I tithe, and so why do I have these problems?”
We are sobered by these tragedies, but we also know that tragedy is not new to the Church. We can read about God’s saints from the history of the Church and Hebrews 11 and see what they went through. The early church fathers, along with thousands of believers, died under Nero and the cruel kings and rulers. Yet these people were so godly.
Life in the 21st century is described by philosophers not as the age of reason but as the age of confusion. No longer do logic or reason dictate choices, but confusion. I don’t think it takes much for anyone to see that our society, our families and our lives are out of control. But where does that leave us? How do we look ahead to the years we have left on this earth?
Jesus promised, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Jesus knew the lives we must live in these last days. For those of us who are older, even when we imagined as young people where the world was headed, we could not imagine the world we find ourselves in today. But Jesus knew, and He told us to take heart, to be courageous. Why? Because He, in the midst of our pain, our sorrow, our confusion, has still overcome the world.
We are not in control of our lives and our circumstances nearly as much as we think we are. We are limited human beings. No matter what culture, what nation, what time of history we are in, whatever changes are taking place in the world, one thing stays consistent: that is God and His Word. When the whole world crumbles around you, when the bomb falls, when everybody you depended on betrays you and runs away, when you are left alone, when you have nowhere to go, God remains. In a world of chaos and uncertainty, He is the absolute.
Let’s look at Psalm 46: 1-3:
Our God is our refuge and strength: a helper in troubles, which have found us exceedingly. Therefore we will not fear, when the earth shall be troubled; and the mountains shall be removed into the heart of the sea. Their waters roared and were troubled: the mountains were troubled with his strength.
Notice that it starts with, “God is our refuge and strength.” When we are in trouble, He is the One we can run to. He becomes our friend, our counselor, our comfort, our answer, our forgiver, the One who gives us company. In the midst of adversity, He is our strength. When we run out of all the things we depended on to give us inner and moral strength to continue the journey, He is that strength that never runs out.
If God is our refuge, that’s where we go when we are in trouble or when we have chaos in our lives. In a situation like this shooting in Sutherland Springs, it really is chaos. It doesn’t make any sense, and we can’t do anything to change what happened. When we go to God as our refuge, we come to Him and simply sit with Him. Let His spirit work. Be alone before Him and bring the situation before Him in prayer. Say, “Lord, I give this situation to You, and I trust You with it. Be there and be the answer.” As many times as you find yourself troubled by it, continue to give it to the Lord and trust Him with it. Then, as you continue to surrender it to the Lord, you will experience peace that passes understanding.
God is our safe place and is above all circumstances and all chaos. That’s where you and I are called to live—above the chaos and confusion. Even if the earth splits asunder, the seas roll, the mountains fall, we have this confidence: He is our refuge.