“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
Chaos of Life
People often ask me, “How do you do it?” By “it”, I assume they mean my feeble attempts at juggling parenting, a full-time job, coaching, serving at church, and writing. Maybe on the outside, it looks like I have my life in order.
My answer is, “I have no idea.”
I’m not trying to make myself out to be Wonder Woman. In fact, I’m trying to do the opposite. I do not have it all under control. My life is in constant chaos. I have to think a little too hard about the last time my children bathed. If my Google calendar didn’t remind me about appointments, I would miss every one of them. Occasionally, I’ve worn clothes out of the hamper because I was behind on laundry. (Don’t worry… they got the sniff test first.)
As hard as I try, my life seems to be controlled by disorder. So, my honest answer to the question “How do you do it?” is… “I don’t.”
The Order of Creation
Our God is a god of order. He sees things in chaos, and BAM! He straightens them up, making them perfect. It started at Creation:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. (Genesis 1:1-5)
Can you imagine that? God saw a world that was formless and empty, said four words, and it was fixed. (If only I had that skill for housework!) God created everything to be perfect, set in the order that He knew was going to be exactly how it needed to be. And He didn’t stop there; He continued until everything we know today was created.
Of course, the world was better at creation than how we know it today. The fall into sin that is depicted in Genesis 3 caused a rift in the perfection of Eden. The selfishness and pride of human nature quickly shifted the world from perfect to broken, and humanity went along for the ride.
But God wasn’t done yet.
Jesus: Bringing Order Back
Because He loves us and the world He created, God didn’t leave us in the chaos of sin. He sent His Son to save us and show us the way back. I can’t tell you the number of times that, in a moment of panic and stress, I’ve prayed: “God, please show me the way.” And, without fail, God leads me to a simple answer to my prayer.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:6-7)
When Jesus came to Earth, he restored the order God set up at creation. He didn’t restore physical or political order, as some of his followers hoped he would. By dying on the cross for us, Jesus cleaned up the chaos that sin causes in our hearts. By rising from the grave, he assured us that God’s perfect order was restored and we could be assured that we are forgiven children of God. Jesus’ sacrifice made us right with God.
He’s Still Here
Jesus knew the brokenness of the world. That is, after all, why he came, died, and rose. He knows the pain and suffering we face in this life. And he promises to be with us.
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” (John 14:18-20)
Because he lives, we live. Christ is always in us, dwelling in our hearts through the work of the Holy Spirit. He will never leave us or forsake us. But sometimes, in the chaos around us, we forget this.
Find Order by Following Christ
We all want to make sense of our lives. Many of us thrive on predictability. So when chaos rears its ugly head in the form of tragedy, conflict, or some other challenge, we feel lost. In situations like these, Jesus gives us direction:
“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them… All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:23, 25-26)
Jesus teaches us to love God and love others like ourselves. He tells us that the Holy Spirit will teach us and remind us of these commands. So this is the way to find order in our lives: love God and love others.
However, Jesus knows we won’t do this perfectly. If we could, we wouldn’t need Him. That’s why he also teaches us about the grace given to us from God through Jesus. Grace is undeserved forgiveness. Because there will be chaos. We will wander astray from God’s teaching. But God loves us anyway.
Peace on this Side of Heaven
As I write this blog, I’ve been interrupted at least a dozen times by my children, who are home unexpectedly due to a power outage at their childcare center. They’ve come to me with hungry tummies, loose teeth, boredom, and disagreements that need attention. On the numerous days in the last 18 months where I’ve worked from home and cared for my children simultaneously, “order” is the last word anyone would use to describe my house. And yet, I am well aware that these challenges are minor compared to what some of you face in your homes.
On this side of Heaven, chaos reigns. We live in a world wrecked by sin. But that doesn’t mean there is chaos everywhere. The peace of Christ dwells in each of our hearts. Jesus tells us: Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27b). And he means it. Because of Christ, we can have peace and order in our hearts, no matter what is going on around us. When we delve into God’s Word, meditate on His promises, and talk to Him in prayer, we have order in chaos.