Life doesn’t always fold up into neat little summaries. Have you ever wondered “Where is God when chaos strikes?”
We were on a happy little family outing when a driver came out of nowhere and rammed into the side of our vehicle. This sent us spinning into the chaos of having to find another vehicle. At first, I thought all this would sum up into a nice little insurance check to help us get a better vehicle. Instead, it has been over a month and still none of it makes sense. Should I ask, “Where is God?”
Chaos strikes everyone
On our homestead, my children have been raising bottle calves to sell at a decent profit. Although we have raised them successfully for a few years, this time, they have been dying with hardly any warning.
Instead of making large profits, we have lost almost $500 this year. Why? My kids give generous tithes and offerings. They know how to spot a sick calf and care for it. Instead of this being a fun little project for their profit, we have had calves go down and be dead within hours.
We have tried all that we knew, and even the veterinarian is scratching his head because of the odd combination of symptoms. I have been in touch with veterinarians at state colleges and even had discussions with the Department of Natural Resources to see if we might have contamination in our ground or water.
Life does not have to make sense
As much as I want it to, life cannot fit into a fortune-cookie proverb. We may never understand why our vehicle was totaled. We may never understand what killed those calves. Why did my daughter almost die when she was three months old? Why did that relative pass away suddenly without being able to say goodbye?
What I do know, however, I cling to: God is still God, even in chaos.
When death takes your loved one, you have to find God for who He is, not who you assumed He was. When tragedy strikes, you find the depth of your God and the shallowness of yourself. God may never give you an explanation for the unexplainable things in life. He will give you Himself.
Do not assume that good is God
I tend to think that my good days are a result of my deep devotion to God. When I get good grades, when the sun shines on my picnic, when all the lights are green, or when I have more money than month —I tend to assume that these are what I deserve. I think of these things as tokens of God’s love for me.
However, when the carpet gets jerked out from under me, I bawl. I think God has forgotten me. I stare at the wrecked vehicle or dead calf and wonder what I ever did to make God angry with me. I have had to learn that good and bad happen to everyone one.
The difference between me and a person without God is that I can have God in the good times and the bad times. That person only has good times and bad times. I would rather have Jesus than good or bad. This is not heaven and I cannot get too caught up with this life.
If I equate finances and happiness with the favor of God, I will assume that the inevitable bad times are His disfavor. Through frustrating ordeals, I have learned a secret.
Tough times prove God’s character
I do not need God to have good character and happy days when everything is going well. I can develop a routine and system of godly living that assures me all is well. Somehow my daily Bible reading, prayer, and scripture memorization can become a substitute for faith. Because I am faithful to church and responsible with my finances, I feel secure in my good behavior.
When life hits the fan, my routine dissolves into the mere ice sculpture it really was. When all my plans and schedules crash down around me, there I meet the Master. If it were not for tragedies and diseases that have invaded my world, I would not have known the miracle power of Jesus. If it were not for upsets and complications, I would have never learned to lean on His strength.
Chaos tears up your systems and order in life. There you see the Creator at work. There you find Him showing His power and glory. Or, you meet Him in His gentleness as He sits with you by the bedside of a dying loved one. He is not there to explain why everything has happened the way it did. But He is there. This is faith.
Job never got a tidy little summary at the end of his ordeal. He never got an “and the moral of the story is” at the end of it all. He did get God, though, and that was all he needed. He did not need friends who tried to tell him the whys and hows of all his misery. He just needed someone to listen and a God who shows up in the midst of the storm.
Look at God not the chaos
Drop all your expectations and preconceived notions about life and God. Realize that Jesus had it the worst of all of us and He never quit on His mission. If “having it good” and being comfortable were signs of God’s love, He must have been hated. Yet He taught us love. He brought us faith. Through disaster and unexplainable situations, He brought us access to a meaningful life even when we do not understand.
I’m driving a different vehicle than what I wanted right now. My kids and I have shared the joy of saving the last of the sick calves. We are still waiting on lab results from the postmortem exam. More than anything, we are alive in the hope of knowing Jesus and enjoying walking with Him. We try not to keep our eyes on the ground but to look into the chaotic mess of clouds up there and know that a new order and new system is coming soon.
God is still God even when chaos hits.