Responding to Chaos

by Christine Sine

Andy Wade —

Isaiah 9:2Resting in chaos is never easy.  Chaos either pushes me into action or drives me into isolation. What I should do is turn my face toward God. Our source of rest is God. Our source of peace is Jesus. Our inspiration to action springs from returning to our source and getting our heads in a right place so that any action is the action of God flowing though those grounded in God’s desire for the world.

Chaos is a curve ball, changing direction as it approaches and throwing me off balance. I can swing wildly at that ball, and miss, I can tense up, freeze, and let it whiz by me, or I can focus my gaze on Christ, keep my eyes on the ball, and be prepared to act accordingly.

We all respond differently to chaos. The first step in finding rest and a sense of peace is to know ourselves.

  • How do I typically respond when life gets hectic?
  • How do I react when all of my plans seem to fall apart?
  • What emotions seep to the surface when I feel out of control?

Knowing ourselves makes it easier to begin to enter that place of rest.

“I’m feeling anxious and angry! That’s often a symptom of fear because I’m out of control.”

Simply being able to recognize and verbalize this reality returns a sense of control to my life. Now that I recognize what’s going on I can remember, “Oh, what really helps me when this happens is to __________.” (you fill in the blank).

In a post from several years ago Christine Sine quoted this re-write of Habakkuk 1 & 3 from Dave Timmer. Dave is the Project Director for A Rocha in Northwest Washington. This is a beautiful example of one thing you might try – rewrite a portion of scripture to speak personally into the situation you’re facing.

Habakkuk Revisited:
An advent rewrite inspired by Habakkuk 1 and 3.

Habakkuk’s Complaint

How long O Lord, must we call for help, but you do not listen?
Or see the violence! But you do not save?
Why do you make me witness injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongs?
Destruction and violence cover the earth;
there is strife and conflict abounds.
Therefore Love is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.

The Lord’s Answer
Look at the creation and watch –
and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe.

I am raising up believers,
who are caring and thoughtful people,
who sweep across the whole earth
to give of themselves for others.

They are a delightful and respected people;
they share their knowledge
in a bountiful manner.

Their churches plunge headlong
their people dig in where they are.

They soar like an eagle uplifting the lowly;
they come bent on Peace.

Their people are like a forest breeze
freeing the oppressed like wind.

They find the lost
and push forth the last.

They laugh in their cities
building lasting friendships and enjoying them.

Then they bless their communities
and hold fast –
beautiful people, whose God is their strength.

Habakkuk’s Prayer

Lord I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your creation, O Lord.
Renew it in our day,
in our time restore your handiwork;
in grace and mercy.

Christ the Lord incarnated amongst us
the Son came down from Heaven.
His glory covered the heavens
and his praise filled the earth.

His splendor was like a sunrise;
rays flashed from his hands
from which his love was made apparent.
Mercy went before him;
justice followed in his footsteps.

He stood and took our pain;
he lives and makes us humble.
His Kingdom is eternal.

Will your rivers run free, O Lord?
Will your streams flow uncontaminated?
Will you refill the oceans with creatures
as Peace spreads through creation
and your Kingdom is fulfilled.

You will pour out your compassion
and call for justice.

You will supply dry earth with water;
the mountains with ancient forests
and springs of water will nourish our crops.

Chaos will be pushed away
and its destruction will cease.
Sun and moon will not be obscured by pollution
as your kingdom unfurls
as your redemption continues.

In peace you will stroll through the earth
and in grace you will sustain your creation.
You came down to deliver your people,
to save your creation.

You’ve reclaimed the leaders of destruction
and brought down the powerful.
With their own greed you brought them down
when their arrogance attempted to scatter us.

You scattered the agents of confusion
bringing understanding upon the earth.

I hear this and my heart pounds
my lips quiver in anxiety;
My bones ache with anticipation
but my legs are slowed with time.

Yet I will wait patiently for the day of Shalom
to come upon the earth.

Though the church is ignorant
and its people are content,
though the widow is not looked after
and the orphan finds no shelter.
Though our society poisons creation
and our culture encourages destruction,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

I will be joyful in Christ my Savior.
The Lord Almighty is my strength;
he gives me confidence in his ways.

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