Each of us will experience chaos in our lives, in some way or another and it can be extremely difficult to be fully present in those moments. The two words mean total opposites, so let’s break them down.
Chaos – a state of total confusion with no order.
- fast paced
- unstoppable (can’t be prevented)
Present – Being present simply means you’re focused and engaged in the here and now, not distracted or mentally absent.
- aware (senses are heightened)
Caught between two complete opposites, how can we remain calm under pressure, focused, driven and in sync with God?
We need to work with God to find a balance- there will always be things that try to tip the scales but we have to make sure they don’t.
There is a difference between chaos and being chaotic. I don’t think being chaotic is good but I don’t think chaos is bad either.
The problem is us – our instinct as human beings is that we want control. We like things in order and predictable. We have created a power play between us and God.
This past year, God has shown me that chaos is good. So many areas of our lives can feel out of control. From one day to the next, week by week, month by month and year by year. Sometimes other people’s lives can seem out of control and we’re at the other side of the window looking in and there’s nothing we can do.
God has said, embrace (welcome) it, enjoy it and be comfortable in it. You can’t run from chaos.
When we’re in the chaos we can’t control it, we don’t have time to overthink or manipulate it, all we have is God. It is inevitable we will make mistakes but we have to allow God to work through them.
It is in the chaos that God teaches us to depend solely on him. Trust and obey (Matthew 25)
It is also in the chaos that we learn to be present. I like the chaos because I’m not in it. The decisions I make are God. The steps that unfold are God.
The chaos brings out the best in us IF we allow it.
God can do his best work in us IF we allow him.
GOD IS IN THE CHAOS.
Bottom line: we all have a different chaos. It’s you and God in the chaos. You decide what happens next. Don’t fight God. Surrender to him.
God was with Noah in building the ark.
God was with Joseph in prison.
God was with Moses in Egypt and the wilderness.
God was with Joshua and Caleb when taking a stand.
God was with Gideon in the winepress.
God was with David in the cave.
God was with Esther in the throne room.
God was with Daniel in the lion’s den.
God was with John when he was beheaded.
God was with Peter in his denial.
God was with Stephen when he was stoned.
God was with Paul when he was beaten.
God isn’t a stranger to the mess. He knows exactly what the chaos is like. He understands the circumstances, situations and consequences.
GOD IS WITH YOU.
As believers we have to learn to run towards the chaos and be confident that God is in it. We have to face what lays ahead and within.
Chaos can reveal different things.
1. Character – it shows who we really are.
2. Faith – do we trust God or not.
3. Surrender – can we set down control.
4. Growth – God pushes us to bring out the best in us.
5. Vision – it brings sharpness
Good news is that Jesus calms the chaos and brings peace in the middle of it (Luke 8:22-25).
Jesus was always thinking ahead, moving from town to town, performing miracles and sharing about his Father but he was always PRESENT.
Jesus was never in a rush, never under pressure and he was never too busy.
For three years, imagine the chaos that was Jesus’ life. Mass crowds, conflict, travel, miracles, challenging tradition and turning everything upside down.
Jesus set a model of unpredictability, advancement, convenience, and peace.
- No one knew what Jesus was going to do next.
- He never stopped moving forward.
- He always made time for others.
- he always took himself away to pray.
Jesus was present with the widow.
Jesus was present with the woman at the well.
Jesus was present with the blind man.
Jesus was present with Zacchaeus.
Jesus was present for the woman with the issue with blood.
Jesus was present on the cross. Jesus is present with us right now through his spirit.
Our Challenge – Can we be PRESENT in the CHAOS.
1. Can we lead and be present.
2. Can we coach and be present.
3. Can we think ahead and be present.
4. Can we share the gospel and be present.
You CAN be present in the chaos IF you hand God control. There are people who need you to be present. There are times when that is asked in the calm and in the chaos.
Jesus was present when Judas betrayed him.
Jesus was present when his disciples abandoned him.
Jesus was present as he hung on the cross.
Jesus was present when he rose again.
Jesus IS present because he loves you.
Jesus modelled being present in the chaos and he encourages us to do the same.
Written by Jess McMaster