The world is loud, right now. Shouting. Shouting. Shouting. “Give me space!” “A little elbow room, please!” “Hear me! Hear me! Hear me!” Have we split our collective brain down the center? How else can we explain this wandering through a schizophrenic jumble of holiday greetings and fabulous cats on wheels and cardboard coffins laid in a row?
It is chaos, we hear ourselves whisper between practiced lines of “Our Father, who art in heaven,” and “. . . He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies . . .” and “Now I lay me down to sleep.”
Chaos jolts us from our sleep and that is good, very good, because the world needs us awake. We have this treasure in earthen vessels and we need to be awake. They are watching us, and we wander dangerously close to offering nothing but the same old same old when what we really have to give—if we could just press through—is Light.
Our heels are ragged and bloody and oozing for all the digging in. Our knees ache from being braced against the possibility of middle ground, or even common ground. Our index fingers are overworked, and our voices have gone raspy from the shouting.
Have we forgotten chaos is God’s best creative workshop?
The story goes that in the beginning, all that we know and all that we see was nothing, and that particular nothing was formless and void. Chaotic.
But God stepped out into the chaos and said, “Let there be . . .” And there was.
There was no need for shouting. Right there, in the beginning, with just God hovering over the face of the deep, God didn’t need to shout to be heard above our noise. God is not the shouting type, I don’t think. He’s not going to raise his voice simply to be heard above our noise. He’s not limited by gravity or ego or fear or anger, the way we sometimes are. And so, God speaks in his still, small voice. What if we’re missing Him, because of our noise?
It’s up to us to hear Him. To seek Him. To make the way straight for the Lord.
He is coming to rescue us—not out of the chaos, but in the chaos. This—this rescue in the midst of the upside down, weary and worn, terrifying and titillating, frustrating, confusing, misunderstood, violent, dark, and ugly mess—this is God’s signature move. We keep searching for a way out, raising our voice with each step we take. But God delivers us out by bringing us through.
When He does, we are rendered speechless.
Check the history books and the biblical accounts and you will see our default is to pick a side and then argue our point so that we can add members to our team. It is our bent, our humanity showing through. But, right this very moment, we are marking the days in anticipation of a more excellent way: God, wrapped in skin, coming to be with us.
God shows up on the scene with words like, “Bless those that curse you. Bless, and do not curse.” Or, “Father, forgive them . . .” Tough words, this Jesus whispers over our souls. But also, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.”
He calls us to the table and invites us to lean in. It is the power of the table, and the Holy Spirit is the power at the table. He promises He’ll be there when we gather. Will we be able to get over the fact that we never expected the person sitting next to us or across from us to get an invitation to this table? I imagine we’ll have to lean in close enough to rub shoulders, if we’re going to hear the voice of Jesus, or catch a glimpse of Him asking for someone to pass the salt . . . to be the salt.
Some questions for you: Advent means we expect Christ to show up in a very real way, right in our midst. Is your world too noisy for you to hear Him? How can you find silence to hear the still, small voice of God in the midst of the shouting? Have you been waiting for God to deliver you out of something? What would change if you thought He might be delivering you through?
Leave a Comment
Melanie Vanlaningham says
Oh yes, Deidra,
The chaos and the noise so easily drowns out the voice of God. Daily I ask him to help me hear him above the noise. It all continues to spin around me so I must find moments to pull away, moments to breathe deep, and moments when I just say his name. We are in a world desperate for him and they don’t even know it. I want to be at that table, and receive that power from the Holy Spirit to bring his radiant light and his salt to those He has given me to love. There is such a waiting for his voice, a quieting of our souls, and that expectation that He will show up. Yes, Lord, awaken us to your purposes for us in this chaos and noise.
Jenni DeWitt says
Yes! God is leading us through the chaos all the time. The question is, do we hear Him? Melanie, I love that line, “We are in a world desperate for him and they don’t even know it.” We feel the hole — something is missing — and we try to fill that hole with things and activities of this world. Even as “good” Christian women, it’s easy to get distracted by the chaos. But God is always there, waiting and whispering to our hearts. When we sit in silence with Him, we can hear Him. We can see the path through the chaos. Thank you, Deidra, beautiful words as always. I feel like God is tugging at the heart of his daughters, “Come, be still with Me.”
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
It’s a sad tale of our existence that I have to fight…I mean literally fight with the chaos to have an appointment with myself and the Creator of the Universe. Interruptions rob me of time as I see the hour hand on the clock spin. But, so far, each day I have carved out a quiet time to be still and let my Savior draw near and whisper words of hope to me. Even the dogs are out to get me as I settle into my chair in front of the Christmas tree – “You really have to go out right now?’ I ask, frustrated. But I’m persevering in insisting on a daily time to just be still and quiet and read His word and do my Advent devotional and hang another ornament on my Jesse tree. It hasn’t been easy to do this, but ahhh when I get that time what refreshment it brings. It may be a different time each day, but I have a Father who patiently waits for me. When I get a little time with Him, I am always left wanting more and so I try to practice His presence even when I’m addressing cards, or wrapping gifts or doing holiday baking. He is always there…even in the chaos…Thank you Deidra for a message that speaks to our collective hearts!
Wonderful, refreshing and encouraging word from the Lord!
Leaning in close to hear the still, small voice and to listen to the heartbeat of God.
Kelly Greer says
Healing balm right here Deidra. Thank you for the whisper. Much needed and well received <3
This morning, as I was cleaning the kitchen…because my mom is coming over tonight before my daughter’s concert, I was apologizing to God for not having the ability lately to be still. I prayed through my cleaning, but I felt like a failure because I didn’t succeed at being still and really my goal was to please my mom – who won’t say anything but I so know (it shows all over her face) she won’t be pleased because I don’t clean like she does. I sit on the sofa and try to focus on him and the distracting thoughts keep bombarding my mind – the chaos keeps coming. I try to focus on his Word, but the chaotic thoughts keep coming. I try to turn the radio off as I drive to work so I can hear him – the chaotic keeps coming along with the crazy drivers.
Yesterday, I was feeling so so weak, so I wrote this prayer in response to what I read in the Jesus Calling devotional…
Thank you Lord that you are working on my behalf. You know all my concerns, even those that are not at the forefront of my mind right now and those that will surface later on in the day or week. Lord, you know my dreams. You planted them in my soul. Lord may your light shine on the next step that I should make to live the life YOU planned for me. Lord, may I learn to BE STILL so that I can hear your still, small voice..so that I may let it calm me and bring quiet to my mind and heart. Thank you Lord that you are always right by my side even when I cannot feel you. Lord, this world is so full of demands, on my time, energy, resources and heart. The world tries to tell me how I should “feel” and when I should accomplish “things”. The me that wants to please gets so caught up in the rat race and the masquerade ball that is the world. May I remember that your ways are not my ways and your timing is not the world’s timing. Like a child, may I learn to live each moment with hopeful anticipation that you are working all things for good.
In Jesus Name,
Beth Williams says
I, too, hear the chaos! I try to pray, but the chaos & noise keeps coming. It’s hard to shut out this demanding, frenzy world!! Sometimes I wish God would just come back now & take us out of this mess!
Dawn Russell says
I needed this right.this.minute!!!!!
“Have you been waiting for God to deliver you out of something?” … I am all too certain He is challenging me to “go through” and like the spoiled, rebellious teen-ager (spiritually) that I am .. I want deliverance. Immediate, quick, no delay.
“What would change if you thought He might be delivering you through?” … I have not allowed that option to become reality, because of the deep rebellion in my heart. I want the madness to stop, not learn how to be respectful and kind in the midst of it :/
Amazing, our God is faithful and patient as He teaches me to be the same ~ the same as He whom has come and is coming.
Thank you Deidra, you have spoken these words well today.
Ashley @ Circling the Story says
Such great reminders! Yes, I feel that I keep turning to noise and visual clutter and social media instead of just being still. It’s such a temptation — so easy to do. I have been longing for “easy” of late, or just not quite so hard, and I realize that I just want my circumstances to change and not Jesus himself. Thanks Deidra.
Robin Vasaturo says
If I knew God was bringing me through (and He is), I would praise Him always, listen for His voice and believe. I would lean harder on Him and let Him take care of all situations instead of me trying my hand at it. Trust me I always mess it up when I do this. :).
God is an awesome God and is always working in every situation, even though we can’t always see it. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” Hebrews 11:1
Taking an underlying feeling I’ve been experiencing and placing into a few clear words: “How else can we explain this wandering through a schizophrenic jumble of holiday greetings and fabulous cats on wheels and cardboard coffins laid in a row?”
Amen! Right here in the mess with me. That’s the Jesus that rubbed shoulders with ordinary, outcasts…in the hectic and chaos. That’s my Rescuer. Praise Him!
Diana Trautwein says
My goodness, this is gorgeous, Dee. Thank you, thank you. And I am finding small pockets of quiet here and there. Every so often. 🙂
Katie Reid says
Powerful words Deidra. “Chaos jolts us from our sleep…and we need to wake”. Thank you for sharing with us. Your words make me think beneath the surface and that is a good thing!
Beth Williams says
This post reminds me of a song by Matthew West “Leaving Heaven” on his Heart of Christmas CD. It talks about God leaving the splendor of Heaven and stepping into our broken chaotic world.
I would love for the chaotic, madness to stop and for the world to be quiet for 30 minutes or so. I could use some down, quiet, relaxing time to just think about stuff & not be so rushed and bombarded with noise!
Thanks Deidre!! 🙂