"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

We're Promised Peace in Chaos, Never From Chaos

In 1969 Paul Simon wrote a song entitled Bridge Over Troubled Waters. The closing words of that are "Like a bridge over troubled waters, I will ease your mind." Pop culture often weeds its way into the garden of truth. In my thirty years of pastoral ministry, I've seen more than a few Christians create a Jesus who becomes their "bridge over troubled waters." A typical prayer meeting is proof. Most requests are for Jesus to remove troubles such as illness, poverty, conflict, etc... It's as if Christians believe the world around them is peaceful by nature, and intrusions of trouble and turmoil are unnatural.

Not so.

That the world evolves peacefully, gradually, and uniformly toward better and better outcomes is a lie of those who whose sole hope is mankind. It is an unscientific belief-- unscientific because it is neither observable,  measurable or verifiable -- and it has led people to believe that this world is naturally evolving toward better outcomes. Mankind, it is said, is a microcosm of Mother Universe and her progression toward stability and peace.

Not so.

Mankind, apart from God, is always devolving -- like the universe -- toward worse and worse outcomes. The brilliant Immanuel Velikovsky, a close friend of Albert Einstein, shook the scientific world with his 1950's book Worlds in Collision, where Velikovsky proved the earth's human population has almost been destroyed three times throughout history by natural, cosmic disasters. Velikovsky, a Jew, was deemed a heretic for his postulations that the sun used to rise in the west and set in the east, that the ancients wrote in great detail how destructive forces from the skies totally destroyed the world as it was then known, and that the Old Testament accounts of "the sun standing still" and "great stones from heaven" crushing the earth are nothing more than the destructive gravity forces of near collisions with stellar objects, including the newest planet Venus.  The world, wrote Velikovsky, is a world in chaos.

Jesus agrees.

Jesus told us that we will "always have the poor among us" (Matt. 26:11).The Apostle Paul, assuming everyone knew the world is in chaos, wrote "the whole creation is groaning, waiting the day of redemption" (Romans 8:22). He further wrote, "Don't be shaken by the troubles you are going through. You know that we are destined for such troubles" (I Thess. 3:3). The writer of Hebrews commends those with faith in God who were "tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Others faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground" (Hebrews 11:35-38).  Jesus wasn't a bridge over troubled waters for these people. He brought them peace in the midst of their troubles.

Application:

There is a growing sense among scientists that great natural disasters are coming. The evil of ISIS is spreading. The world economies - built on the lies of human governments and fiat currencies - is ready to collapse in an inescapable downward spiral.

It's coming.

But here's the thing worth remembering. Throughout the history of the world, these events have always come. The world is in chaos. This isn't nothing new, nor does it necessarily indicate the end of the world and the second coming of Jesus Christ. Nobody knows if God's plans for this earth are coming to a close or will continue indefinitely.

What we do know is Jesus promised His followers a "peace that passes all understanding." Unless your theology of Jesus and His Kingdom transcends your temporal desire for life, health and happiness, you will always be shaken by chaos in this life. But if you know the God whose "Kingdom never ends" and believe that this life is only a step into the next, then you will not clutch to the absence of chaos as evidence of Christ's love for you.

Jesus is not our bridge over troubled waters; He's the stability of our souls and the Rock of our hope right smack dab in the middle of the turmoil around us.

14 comments:

Byron said...

I know and believe firmly that what you write in this post is eternally true. Yet, i sit with my wife who at 75 yrs of age has a form of Parkinson's with Lewy Body Dementia and watch as she gradually looses all ability to function as a human being. Her ability to move is almost totally gone, her ability to communicate is also gone, and control of other body functions is gone. The meds prescribed by a recognized neurologist are basically those used for Alzheimer's because there are no meds specifically designed for her illness. I describe her illness in such detail to point out how difficult it is to hold on to the Biblical truth that such experiences are a part of life in a sin cursed world. 1 Corinthians 15 becomes more and more significant as her continues to deteriorate. GOD IS GOOD - - - ALL THE TIME! !
bYRON

Anonymous said...

I noticed your mention that you have thirty years experience as pastor. I did not mention in my earlier comment that I pastored for 63 years before retiring a few years back. It must be said that such experience in no wise diminishes the difficulty or the heartache one experiences in some hard times.

Wade Burleson said...


Byron,

Your comment is too powerful for me to respond with words. Thanks for sharing your insights with me.

Christiane said...

“He (Christ) became man for our sakes, that becoming a partaker of our sufferings, He might also bring us healing.”

(St. Justin Martyr)

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Victorious said...

But if you know the God whose "Kingdom never ends" and believe that this life is only a step into the next,

I know we are but a vapor, but this life is all we've ever known. The everlasting Kingdom is still an unknown.

then you will not clutch to the absence of chaos as evidence of Christ's love for you.

Intellectually I know this is true, but still there's that little small part of me that can't understand it. Why an all-powerful, all loving, all knowing Father not rescue His children from chaos, pain, and sorrow. I suppose I'll never know. Just doesn't seem reasonable as a parent myself.

At any rate, as always, I so appreciate your posts and encouraging words. Thanks for being you, Wade.

Mary Ann

Christiane said...

Hi MARY ANN,

Perhaps part of the answer to your questing can be found in the writing of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran Christian martyr:

On the Incarnation:

" We now know that we have been taken up and borne in the humanity of Jesus, and therefore that new nature we now enjoy means that we too must bear the sins and sorrows of others. The incarnate lord makes His followers the brothers and sisters of all humanity. The "philanthropy" of God (Titus 3:4) revealed in the Incarnation is the ground of Christian love towrd all on earth that bear the name of human. The form of Christ incarnate makes the Church into the body of Christ. All the sorrows of humanity falls upon that form, and only through that form can they be borne. The earthly form of Christ is the form that died on the cross. The image of God is the image of Christ crucified. It is to this image that the life of the disciples must be conformed: in other words, they must be conformed to his death (Phil. 3:10; Rom. 6:4). The Christian life is a life of crucifixion." (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

Gordon said...

Wade,
I think you are so right in your perspective on chaos and suffering. While not looking for trouble, we can rejoice in our tribulations because Christians know it has the dual purpose of probation and purification. Sir John Taverner,composer, wisely said: "There is no death, only life. Pain is part of the Divine plan;it is Divinely ordained". I sympathise with Byron. Add on ten years, young man, and you will still experience the sufficiency of Christ. My dear wife, born in 1930 , is in a similarly weak and declining situation to yours. But we press on. I've just been to the garden to pick some of her favorite flowers. I hope she will recognise and like when I visit her today. Thank you Lord that our essential identity is in you alone !

Josh from FL said...

Every night I pray over my four-year-old son that God would send His angels charge over him and keep him safe from ill will and harm - even while he presently wears a cast for a broken arm. I also thank God for his provision and ask he provides for us tomorrow.
Am I wrong for asking such things? Should I reword my petition?
(Not seeking an online argument. Simply wanting an honest opinion)

Darlenes said...

Your comment is too powerful for me to respond with words, thanks for you sharing this.

Anonymous said...

Byron
"Chaos" for me was exactly what my wife shared with yours. She met Jesus three years ago. "From Chaos" was hiring an agency to locate a college sweatheart. She showed a box I made her with her name and 1954. Inside was my picture. We were married July 4, 2015.
Wade
Is "Not from Chaos" the reason new translations removed "diliver us from evil" from the Lord's Prayer?

Rex Ray

Anonymous said...

BTW
My internet has been down over a month. Judy is 80 (three years younger than me.)
The saying that marriage for older people is only for companionship is a joke.

Rex

Gordon said...

Rex,

At 83 ? Remarkable ! No wonder you are telling everybody.

Curious Thinker said...

I think there is a balance of both regarding the world evolving or dissolving. There world has and will always change for the better in some areas and in others change for the worse. There has been so much progress for the past several decades as well as some some decline in other areas. It's not so black and white and since we live in fallen world it will never be perfect. But I agree with everything you said regarding Jesus Christ. God Bless.