Controlling The Chaos
I’ve always thought that I perform pretty well under pressure. In fact, during times of trial in the lives of my friends and family, I find myself drawn to the chaos, hoping to make myself useful. This is part of how God made me, but underneath an honorable desire, I am also discovering there is a subtle but powerful temptation.
This week, I have read many reflections from pastors, leaders, and friends who shared unique discoveries about what God is teaching them during this time. One, in particular, stands out:
“There’s a temptation to busy ourselves to avoid the reality of our world. If we’re busy, things will be okay. If we're distracted, the day will be good. If we can do something helpful, we can avoid our own sense of helplessness.” - Brad Watson, Saturate
Our current reality trumpets a truth I would often rather ignore, and to be honest, it is terrifying:
I am not in control.
I am not in control of my financial future.
I am not in control of the health and well-being of my family.
I am not in control of new restrictions and requirements laid upon me.
I am not in control of my kids or their new schedules.
I am not in control of how long this season will last.
I was never in control, but it is becoming harder and harder to ignore. If you are like me, you find a variety of ways to cope with this realization. Maybe you run to opportunities to make yourself useful or seek to establish order in your home. I want to regain a sense of normalcy, stability, and control. I am discovering that I don’t trust God as much as I thought I did. He is showing me that the real issue lies beneath the action and resides more fundamentally in my heart, and that acknowledging my limitations never limits God.
So, do we stop all our plans to create structure and rhythm in this season? Do we stop responding to the real needs and opportunities around us? I don’t think that is the answer, but I do believe we should take time for more reflection and apply patience as we move through the coming weeks. We must continually remind ourselves that we were never in control but God always has been. The same God with absolute control meets us with mercy (Psalm 86:15), kindness (Titus 3:4-6, Ephesians 2:7), compassion (Psalm 103:13-17) and grace (Psalm 145:8-9). I think God is trying to get me to cease from all my striving so that I might truly see Him.
As we “gather” to worship this Sunday, maybe it will be a new opportunity for us to come to God with a profound sense of our desperate dependence on Him. Will our minds be occupied by the routines we are establishing or the work we need to do, or something better — someone better? My prayer is that God would meet us in our times of worship, huddled in our homes and messy as it is, and that He would prove himself to be a God of mercy and grace, one who rewards those who seek Him.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” - Hebrews 4:15-16