When we lived in England I witnessed a scene of purposeful chaos.
It took place in a convenience store and was unsettling to say the least.
We had stopped to fill up on petrol and grab some beverages before heading out for a day of soaking up and reveling in the local history.
My husband was filling the tank and I went in to buy some drinks and pay for our gas when suddenly a large group of loud and very excited people pulled up between the store and the pumps in 3 or 4 tall vans – all with no windows.
Guessing, I’d say there were 30-40 men and women who poured out of the vehicles, into the store, all speaking a language I couldn’t understand. They pushed and shoved each other, and those of us in the store. There were about 8 of them who stood at the counter shouting at the clerk – it seemed like it was over candy bars. The rest bullied their way through every aisle, shouting and demanding that people get out of the way while the shouting continued at the counter. And then, as suddenly as they had arrived, they took off. It was as if a switch was flipped and in unison they rushed out of the doors, into the vans, and sped out of the parking lot.
Dumbstruck, those of us who had been in the store stood in open-mouthed shock at what had just occurred. The silence was interrupted when my husband, who had no idea of what had taken place inside, came in to see what was taking me so long. I said, “Did you SEE THAT?!?” Because the vans had blocked any line of vision into the store, he hadn’t seen much of anything except that the vans were there, and then they were gone.
I was rattled, but I couldn’t even really explain why. In probably what was less than 10 minutes a whirlwind had just occurred in our midst but none of us could think of a single word to describe what had actually transpired. It was just a bunch of people in a convenience store. So what if they were loud and rude? Nothing really happened, right?
We found out later that the convenience store had actually been robbed – not at the cashier, but from the shelves.
The chaos that ensued in those moments was designed to distract us from what was actually happening all over the store. It was confusing. It was unsettling. It was scary! And it was meant to be so.
The thing that struck me was how successful the chaos was in keeping all of us from seeing what was really going on. We were in the midst of the crime scene and we didn’t recognize that a crime was taking place!
I’m telling you this story because I think that the evil one is using the same tactic right now, fairly successfully against God’s people. Things are chaotic right now, and it’s so easy to focus on the chaos and miss what is actually taking place in front of us.
The issues are important – racial tensions, immigration laws, economic policies – I get it. They affect real human beings and I’m not trying to diminish the significance of the impact of what people in power do.
But let us remember that, for those of us who follow Jesus, we serve the King of Kings who holds the nations (and their leaders) in his hands and who does with them as he pleases. Let us remember, that he is redeeming for himself a people – from every tribe and tongue and nation – to enjoy his fellowship forever.
I am finding that the anxiety that the chaos is designed to produce is effectively turned into peace and joy by lifting my gaze to the One who holds the whole world in his hands.
NONE OF THIS is out of his control or outside of his will for us. EVERY EVENT AND CIRCUMSTANCE we are experiencing is both for our good and for his glory. ALL OF THIS – is for good purposes.
Do not let the chaos of these days distract you from what is really happening!
As we each seek to be good citizens of the lands of our birth, let us more fervently, more ardently, more rigorously seek to be good citizens of the Kingdom in which our true citizenship lies forevermore.
Let us refrain from adding to the din. Let us not allow the chaos of these days distract us from the purposes God has called us to. Let’s not be sidelined from following hard after him and telling others what great things the Lord has done for us. Do not let the turmoil of kingdoms that will be blown away as dust is from the scales, trouble you in the slightest, but keep your hearts and minds stayed on the solid Rock – Christ Jesus.
Remember and don’t forget, for we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Satan may love to stir up chaos that is designed to distract, confuse, and even frighten us, but remember, God delights in taking chaos and making order out of it.