Chaos. Calamity. Confusion. And Christianity. No, not “religion”, but Christianity – receiving Christ as Savior, then making every effort toward living a life that is pleasing to Him. The common denominator among chaos, calamity, and confusion is that all of them surely and eventually find their way into our lives as Christians. The Word of God tells us, “many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19). Job goes on to tell us that, in paraphrase, man born of a woman is of a few days, and those are full of trouble (Job 14:1). Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
So, as believers we know chaos is going to invade our lives, both on a personal and a ministerial level at some point. But we also know that God has made a way for us to experience victory in every painful situation. The wonderful thing about God is that He is well able to operate in the midst of chaos. It may look dark all around us, but because the light of Christ shines on the inside of us, God will reveal Himself in such beautiful ways. When Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, they thought they were rid of him. But God had other plans. While they allowed their disdain for their younger brother to drive them to do the unthinkable, God was already preparing the way for Joseph. The Bible says that in all this chaos, God was with Joseph (Genesis 39:2, 21). His brothers thought selling Joseph into slavery and leading their father to believe a wild animal had killed him, life would just continue to roll on. But God was already at work on Joseph’s behalf. He went from family-driven betrayal, to being sold to a band of Ishmaelites, to running Potiphar’s house, to prison, to interpreting dreams for his fellow prisoners, to interpreting Pharaoh’s dream, and finally to being elevated as the No. 2 man in Pharaoh’s administration. During the 7 years of famine in Egypt, Pharaoh instructed all the people to see Joseph to buy food. Joseph found success, mercy, and favor while a slave, and then as a prisoner. Even his slavemaster, Potiphar, knew the Lord was with Joseph (Genesis 39:3).
Having been given a wife by Pharaoh, two sons were born to Joseph, whom he named directly from his life’s personal chaos. : the first he named Manasseh, as “God has made me forget all my toil . . .”, and the second he named Ephraim, “For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction” (Genesis 41:45, 50-52).
When Herod, king over Judea heard that wise men had come to worship the newborn King of the Jews, it bothered him so much that he issued an order to kill all the male children under the age of 2 (Matthew 2:16). He saw the newborn King as a threat to his own kingship. Can you imagine the chaos that ensued while mothers are being violently robbed of their male children for no reason except this is what the king has ordered? Herod thought killing all the male babies would secure his position. But what Herod didn’t know is that no one can cancel the plans and purposes of God. He thought nothing of the plan of God to bring a Savior into the world who would heal, deliver, and set free from sin all those who would believe on His name. Not only did God instruct the wise men not to return to Herod, but He also warned Joseph in a dream to take Mary and their new baby to Egypt because, had they returned to Judea, Herod would seek to destroy the Child.
Near the end of Mark Chapter 4, the boat that Jesus and his disciples were in began to fill with water because a great windstorm has arose. Fearing for their lives the disciples hurriedly wake up a sleeping Jesus and say in essence, “Teacher, we’re about to die! Don’t you care?” Jesus woke up and spoke to the sea, merely saying, “Peace, be still!” And at that point the wind stopped and the waters were calm again (Mark 4:35-41). The disciples saw chaos, but Jesus saw calm.
Are you facing what seems to be a chaotic situation? Does God seem distant? Please let me encourage you. God sees you, and He is more than able to act in your behalf. I invite you to meditate on Ephesians 3:20: “Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,”… Not long ago my flesh was telling me to give up, but deep in my spirit I knew God was keeping me. I knew He had not left me, and He has not left you, either. Now is the time to stand on the Word of God in a way perhaps you have never stood before. Believe that God really has overcome the world, and that He really is your Deliverer. When you believe that, you will begin to think, speak, and act in faith.