Friday, May 1, 2009

God's Order in Chaos

There are not many things we can control in this life. Sometimes bad things happen that send us freefalling into a dark black hole, making us wonder if we will ever be able to climb out. What you do when the bottom falls out can make all the difference.
The morning of August 16, 2005 I woke up feeling a familiar wave of sadness wash over me. My husband and I had been fighting, a lot. Just that morning he had gone on a business trip and I couldn’t help but feel relieved for the respite I would receive. We both had fresh wounds from the words we exchanged the night before and I felt exhausted by another sleepless night.
I was determined to make the best of the day and managed to check my email before my two 2nd graders bounded into the game room. Nothing could have prepared me for what I found when I clicked the minimized icons on the bottom of my screen. Pictures of coffins, tombstones and directions for burial covered my computer screen. Were these suicide clues? I couldn’t fathom what I was seeing and wanted to believe it was a joke. Fear wrapped its ugly tentacles around my heart as I plummeted into a cave of darkness. The bottom of my world had fallen out and I was falling fast into a realm that I only imagined in my nightmares. I had no idea what was happening but I knew that something terrible had begun.

Look Up
Jesus said, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…”
When bad things happen we are assured of the promise from God himself, the fire will not burn us, the torrents of water will not sweep over us and the flames will not set us ablaze. No matter how frightening our situations seem we can take heart that God has us covered. When the bottom falls out of your world instead of looking down trying to figure out where you’re going to land, look up. Look up into the face of Jesus, cling to His truth. As you feel the cold hard walls close in on you, keep your eyes on the light at the top of the cave and wait. Watch for the mighty hand of the Lord who loves you and when He reaches out to you, grab hold and don’t let go.

Feel the Breeze
For an experienced skydiver freefalling is measured and calculated to the exact altitude. He jumps on purpose into the atmosphere, controlling his fall and lands without a scratch. He feels the breeze, knowing instinctively how far to fall. When we are in the midst of crisis it’s hard to imagine doing anything that makes sense. Even the most faithful give in to panic and desperation. Let’s face it, freefalling through crisis or tragedy is ugly and very painful. Our lives are in peril and we have no idea where we are going to land.
We might not have the luxury of controlling our fall when crisis comes but we do have the ability to reach out and place our trust in Jesus. He knows exactly how far our descent will be. He knows what we need to get us where He wants us to land. Sometimes feeling the breeze means we have to accept our situation. Sometimes we have to be in that moment in order to see what God intends, no matter how scary that might be.
We might not understand and maybe we never will. That’s okay. It’s for these challenges that God equips us. He has a plan and purpose and says clearly in Jeremiah 29:11 “I have plans to prosper you not to harm you.” Let the breeze blow over you and look up, trusting God to land you safely.

Expect the Chute
When a skydiver yanks the cord to open his chute a powerful force pulls the skydiver upward. His freefall has suddenly stopped. In that moment he is confident that the rest of his descent will be smooth and he operates the cords deftly as he floats to the ground. Freefalling for a sky diver is graceful, measured and calculated to the exact altitude. He has the luxury of controlling his descent.
When tragedy strikes there is nothing graceful about the fall we take. We desperately try to grab onto anything that will slow our drop, only making our situation worse.
God’s deliverance doesn’t always look like we think it should. But when we trust in God, and rely on him to navigate us through uncertain times we are sure to land gracefully, safely and with confidence. The skydiver places his trust in a man made parachute, but we as God’s children can trust in Him to be our chute. When times get tough we can believe with assurance that our chute will open. We can expect it.

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