Peace in the Midst of Chaos

How do we find peace in this chaotic world?

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There is chaos all around us. Anytime I turn on the TV or look at my phone it is swirling around me – from the KKK in Charlottesville, to nuclear threats, to political unrest, to celebrity suicide. And then there is the chaos of everyday life.  From getting kids ready for back to school and keeping up with my to-do list.

But my God is a God of peace. And if I focus on Him, all the chaos falls away.

Isaiah 45-18 NLT

Chaos is nothing new. War, racial tension, family disagreements, and unrest have been here since sin entered the world. God didn’t create us to live in chaos. Our eyes aren’t meant to focus on the worries of the world.

Our eyes should be focused on Jesus.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 1 Peter 5:7,10

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3

Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble. Psalms 119:165

Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. Psalms 34:14 

How do we find peace in this chaotic world?

  1. Seek Jesus: Read the Bible every day. #DailyBibleReading
  2. Do a Self-Inventory: “Am I doing good in the world?” Do something good. Every day. Show kindness to a stranger. Do something loving for a family member. Pray for an enemy.
  3. Pray: Keep a prayer journal. Take your worries and hurts to Jesus.
  4. Praise God: Thank Him and praise Him.

Turn off your phone. Open your Bible.

Peace - turn off phone

 

Telling God the Ugly Stuff

Cry out to God with the good, the bad and the ugly.

My current Bible reading plan includes daily reading in the Old Testament, New Testament and usually either a Psalm or Proverb.  Right now I am reading about the life of King David and it is very interesting (and encouraging) to read about the HORRIBLE things going on in David’s life and in Judah and Israel, juxtaposed with songs David wrote while experiencing these heartbreaking and terrifying experiences.

For example, today I read in 2 Samuel 3-4 about war and murder and gruesome executions.  About husbands and wives being torn apart.  About disloyalty and political strife.  About a nation divided by leadership loyalties.

And then I turned to Psalm 59 and read David’s song. The song was written earlier – when King Saul was still alive and had sent soldiers to watch David’s house in order to kill him – but I still see the heart of David and how he cried out to God. I read the song of a man after God’s own heart.

Psalms 59-4.jpg

In the midst of people trying to kill him, David cries out to God.  He tells God about his fears. He asks God to rescue him. He begs for protection. He told God his situation. The good, the bad and the ugly. This wasn’t some nice prayer or pretty worship song. This was David pouring out his fears, anger, hurts to God. This was a son coming to his Father and begging him for mercy. This was a man who trusted God, but was hurting. This was a tortured man begging for a break from the pain.

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God included this Psalm in the Bible. And many others like it. I assume if God wanted these many Psalms in the Bible – and said that David was a man after His own heart – that God wants us to call out to Him, just like David did.

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God wants to know our whole heart. Not just the nice stuff. Not just the just the praises and thank-yous and lists of requests. He wants us to tell Him our fears and anger and hurts. He wants all of us. The good, the bad and the ugly.

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Hope for Living in Hard Times

Yesterday I watched a few minutes of the Today Show and the hosts and their guest were talking about all the horrible things going on in the world today.  They weren’t talking specifics, but big picture – people unhappy with the current political environment, war and threats of war, etc.  And I agree, there is a lot of unrest.  There are people who think Trump will destroy America and possibly the world.  There were people who thought the same thing about Obama, Bush II, Clinton, Bush I, Reagan . . . and I bet there were people who thought the same about Nixon, Lincoln, Truman, Roosevelt, etc.

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Unfortunately, there has always been war, murder, incest, racism, rape and hate.  Around the world there are good leaders and bad leaders.  There is peace and there is war.  There is love and there is hate.  Nowhere is perfect.

Today in my Bible reading plan it was pretty depressing reading about horrible things that happened thousands of years ago.  In Judges 18-19 I read about:

  • The complete destruction of a peaceful city
  • A priest “taking” a concubine, who was then unfaithful to him
  • The men of a city banging on the door of a house where the priest was staying, asking the owner of the house to send the priest out so they could have sex with him
  • The owner of the house instead offering his virgin daughter and the concubine for the men to “use them and do to them whatever you wish” in order to protect the priest from rape
  • The rape and abuse of the concubine
  • The priest then cutting up the woman into 12 pieces and sending her limbs to each of the tribes of Israel

Gruesome stuff.  I’ve read it before but it still makes me feel sick to my stomach.

But then my reading plan took me to Psalm, where the Psalmist wrote (Psalm 49)

  • Why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers surround me
  • No one can redeem the life of another
  • But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself

We live in a fallen world.  There is sin and evil all around us; but our hope isn’t in this world or its leaders.  I can’t change the world, but with God’s grace, I can change myself.  I can impact my children and husband.  I can make a difference, for the better, in the lives of the people around me.

Are we living in tough times?  Yes, some of us are.  Is there hope for the future?  Yes, especially a future in heaven with Jesus.  Can I have peace in the present?  Yes, by continually reminding myself that God is in control and focusing on fixing myself and letting God take care of the rest.

Why Do Bad Things Happen?

I am hoping to take a family trip to California this summer and have started researching locations to visit, places to stay and things to do.  In the midst of researching stops along the Pacific Coast Highway, one of the travel videos mentioned Reality Church, which peaked my interest and I started following a Google, YouTube and Vimeo trail which eventually led to blogs and videos about Daisy Love Merrick.

And then I found this video by her dad:  When Sparrows Fall.

Wow.  So beautiful and such a powerful message; not about the question of why there is suffering in the world, but about who is with us in our suffering.

For anyone questioning suffering, for anyone battling depression or anyone searching for God in the midst of pain, I highly recommend this sermon.  And also recommend watching Daisy’s memorial service (though keep a box of tissues close by).

Daisy, thank you for your faith and for keeping your eyes on Jesus.  I look forward to meeting you someday and seeing the awesome things you are now experiencing.

Britt, thank you for your transparency and the reminder of the questions we should be asking when faced with difficult circumstances.

And God, thank you for grace.  And for your presence.