Cosmos from the Chaos

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Spilt coffee frantically being wiped up while maintaining silence, someone at our gate, a dog needing to be hushed, fifteen WhatsApp messages—“we can’t hear”—writing and holding up a sign—“Speak Loud!”—adjusting filming equipment, and more. O my, the challenges of being a “TV preacher!”

Yesterday morning’s livestream was, to put it mildly, chaotic. I tried to maintain some semblance of composure, but I was beginning to get a bit flustered and I came pretty close to just saying, “Please tune in later.” By the grace of God, I think that a degree of cosmos (order) arose from the chaos (disorder).

Things don’t always go as planned, nor do they always work out in spite of diligent preparation. As the Puritan put it, “Man proposes; God disposes.” Man messes things up; God sets them right.

Thankfully, God rules. Thankfully, God is able to fulfil his purposes when our plans and purposes fall apart. And, thankfully, God doesn’t panic. God is never frustrated or flustered when things seem to be chaotic. In fact, from the opening pages of Scripture, God reveals himself to be purposefully at work turning chaos into cosmos. God takes what is apparently disordered and he orders it.

In the opening verses of Genesis, we are informed that, when God “created the heavens and the earth, the earth was without form and void” (1:1–2a). Then God moved. He spoke and things literally began to take shape (vv. 2bff). What seemed to be chaos was, by the end of the week, cosmos. Things didn’t seem to make sense at the beginning of the week but, by the end of seven days, all was such that God could enter into his rest (2:1–3). This is a profound truth, but I want to focus on a simple observation: God is at work in the midst of the chaos, and so we can rest.

As you begin a new week of work, school, and daily routine, be at rest in your spirit that, as hectic as things seem, God is bringing order out of it all.

As I write, we are in day 59 of lockdown and you may feel flustered. You may even be anxious about the state of things. Without being flippant, will you please remember that God is in control? Please remember that, as dark as things may appear, God is moving and, perhaps sooner than later, he will speak light into our chaos and things will begin to take shape.

This was true when God saved us, as Paul wrote: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). That “light” is as bright today as ever. God’s intention to re-order our lives until they look like Jesus Christ is as on track today as it was before he ordered the coronavirus to enter our world. We can surely rest in his plan to work all things for the good of his people and for his glory. After all, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). And what are those “things”? The perfectly shaped life of his Son: the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29–30).

So, whatever chaos you face today, or in the week ahead, rest in the fact that God will bring forth a cosmos at which he will look and say, “It is good.”

Doug