It was an utterly chaotic situation.
As a college student, I was also an RA, a Resident Assistant. I was responsible for one floor of a dormitory of collegiate young man. On one spring Saturday night, there were all kinds of parties going on around campus, and they got out of hand. The drunkenness and disorderly conduct caused a riot like atmosphere, as vandalistic behavior took center stage.
The climax of the evening was cemented when the arsonist instincts of a couple of wayward students caused the incineration of the press box at the football field. I don’t believe I have ever run so fast to investigate an incident, wondering why others would resort to self-imposed devastation. Thankfully, local police and fire responded. And after the incident, the college got a little more serious about security. I learned that it didn’t take much for things to quickly escalate.
Chaos, that experience of disorder, confusion, and the feeling of being “out of control” is what we’ve encountered in the last few months. Whether it’s been the fear, anxiety or disillusionment over the COVID-19 Pandemic, the heartbreak of more than 40 million people unemployed, or the horrific act of police brutality and murder in Minneapolis, opening the wounds of racial injustice which have ensued protest, looting and vandalism. Chaos does abound.
But what will be the result?
We must be so careful that this chaos does not incite more anger, strife, hate and lawlessness. When we allow and act upon the darkness which tries to infiltrate our inner hearts, it will not only affect others, but will profoundly alter our own lives as well.
Many years ago, I was following a large SUV. When we came to a traffic light, I admittedly drove too close to the vehicle, but it did not touch. The SUV had a beeping mechanism when an object became in proximity, so as we came to a stop, the driver came bounding out of her SUV, ready for a fight. As she looked at the slight distance between our vehicles, the individual began to yell and scream at me out of disgust. I apologized profusely for my actions, but it was to no avail. She went back to her vehicle, slammed the door, and left as the light turned green. I was at fault for sure. But after being a tad shaken, I really wondered what the anger had achieved.
And that’s the question which faces the nation at this vary time. Is it possible to realize growth out of chaos? And the answer is yes. As it is written in I Corinthians 14:33, “For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace.”
Even in Chaos there is opportunity. When the people of Jerusalem had turned away from the Lord by worshipping false gods and idols, God sent prophet after prophet to convince them to turn from their wicked ways and come back to the Almighty. But they refused. And the ramification for their actions was the destruction of the city, temple, and their enslavement in Babylon.
While other false prophets said that this bondage would be short-lived, God’s prophet, Jeremiah, made it clear that it would last. There would be growth in chaos. As the Lord said through the prophet in Jeremiah 29:5-7, “Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters, multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find welfare.”
Even with all the dis-ease around us, may we be people whose hearts are not entrapped by the god of this world, but be engulfed by the God of heaven and earth, which is Jesus Christ.
The Savior who continually calls us to live as people of peace, love, forgiveness, kindness, generosity, service, reconciliation and hope. Because as we strive to be for Christ-like in our own living, it will dramatically change the nation that we are a part of. Even in chaos there can be growth.