Facing the pain of chaos with Christ
Written by Jayda Hooge
When things go sideways, I always look for the bright side of the situation. Initially, I hate coming to terms with the hurt, pain, or disappointments that have been dumped on my doorstep. Phrases like, “At least this other thing didn’t happen,” or “It’s okay because of…” reverberate in my head.
Sometimes, looking for the positives can be helpful. What a tragic life if all we saw were the disappointments and things gone wrong. But I’ve learned that to continually look for the positives and not accept the reality in front of me is only doing myself and others a disservice. It’s not healthy to use finding the silver lining as a constant escape.
I’ve recently been convicted (thank you, Jesus) to reorder my life to focus on God. I’ve done this through adopting some of the practices of Jesus. One of Jesus’ habits was to get away to pray and spend time with His Heavenly Father. If Jesus had an exhausting day of preaching and healing, what did He do? He didn’t watch Netflix and eat pizza. He got away to a quiet place to pray.
In these quiet times before God, I can slow down and start to see life a little more clearly. I take off the rose-coloured glasses that tell me “if you stay positive everything will be fine.” Instead, I can rest in the sovereign God who is actually in control.
The downer emotions that I try to avoid come to the surface and I start to see them for what they are. Just emotions—indicators that something isn’t right. And because I am alone with God, I can share these feelings with Him. I can ask Him the tough questions and wrestle with His truth instead of sitting in the muck of despair.
I believe this is a beautiful place to be. Sitting in our hurt and pain with God. And don’t I know that there is a lot of hurt and pain in this world. Especially the many devastating events our world has endured in the last year.
There are so many hurts, pains, fears, and disappointments at a global, national, and personal level. They can easily leave us feeling like we’re drowning. The chaos and injustice threaten to pull us under. There is chaos around us and within us.
It is proper and right to grieve the injustices and the disappointments—big and small. And you know what?
God is here for it all. He wants all our emotions, no matter how big and dark they might feel. He wants us. He mourns and weeps with us.
We can see in the Gospels that injustice and grief affected Jesus deeply. There are stories where He was moved to tears, to righteous anger, or to sorrow and anguish. If we refuse to sit in the pit of despair, what truths are we willing to wrestle with?
Let’s look at what Jesus says. “Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.]” (John 14:27 AMP).
Jesus says that He gives us His peace and instructs us to let His peace calm us.
Let’s look at another passage.
“Let the peace of Christ [the inner calm of one who walks daily with Him] be the controlling factor in your hearts [deciding and settling questions that arise]. To this peace indeed you were called as members in one body [of believers]. And be thankful [to God always]” (Colossians 3:15 AMP).
There’s that word again, let. What am I letting control my heart? The chaos I see in the news? The chaos I feel in my head and heart? Or am I letting the peace of Jesus be the controlling factor in my heart?
I love how the peace of Christ is described in the Amplified Bible translation: “The inner calm of one who talks daily with Him.” Walking daily with God, choosing times of quiet to spend in His presence despite the chaos, ushers in the peace of Jesus.
If we don’t stop long enough to know what’s going on inside of us and to sit in the sweet presence of Jesus, how will we be able to choose His presence and peace?
In Ecclesiastes 3:4, the writer acknowledges that there is a time or season for everything, “a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”
In this season we find ourselves in—that we find our world in—let us weep and mourn together. But let us not forget that the peace of Jesus can come to us like a cool cloth on a fevered forehead, restful and restorative.
If we let Him. If we let the peace of Christ be the controlling factor in our hearts.
I encourage you, fellow mourners, to ask Jesus to show you how to do this. Ask Him to show you how to give Him the control in your hearts.