BY CURT AUSTIN, GRACE ATTENDER & BLOGGER
Have you opened the paper today? Did you turn on the evening news? Perhaps you checked Fox or CNN or some other news outlet that only man-bun wearing hipsters know about? Are you an online news junkie throughout the day or just happen to catch NPR on your drive home from work? Whatever your news source, there is never any doubt that the information flowing is guaranteed to be one story after another about natural disasters, political drama, or international intrigue.
In the last couple of months, we’ve seen reports of the northwest fires that engulfed more than 400,000 acres of land in Montana alone. We’ve witnessed the terrible devastation of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria as they leave behind a path of destruction that will take years or even decades to repair. As if fire rushing along the ground and water falling from the sky is not enough, the earth moves in Mexico and hundreds die when homes and schools collapse down upon them.
We won’t even visit the chaos of our government that seems to be leading us to absolute deadlock. We can’t begin to unpack the racial unrest that has been present in this country for centuries, never truly dealt with, and surfacing once again in the north and the south. We can’t dig into the rising tensions of a growing nuclear threat or the theft of millions of American’s personal data. We can’t take the time necessary to dig into the African refugee crisis that is resulting in thousands of immigrants drowning in the Mediterranean each year and causing Europe to rethink its open-door policy.
We don’t even have the bandwidth to give our attention to the genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims that is happening right now in Myanmar.
Let’s be honest, we’re overwhelmed by the news. It’s a never-ending story of woe, and our numbness doesn’t even take into consideration those tragic stories that happen right in our neighborhoods or our own homes; lost jobs, diagnoses, and diseases that are hard to pronounce and even harder to treat. We struggle with making good choices for our aging parents while simultaneously managing troubled teens. We struggle to balance our increased work demands with our home responsibilities.
Some days, it feels the storms of life are just too much for our little boats to handle. The water is splashing in faster than we can bail. When we pray, we pray that Jesus would just calm the stormy waters like he did with the Disciples on the Sea of Galilee. We want the winds of life to cease blowing. We need the waves of chaos to grow calm.
Tim shared with us last week that Genesis 1 and its imagery of the dark waters would have impacted the early readers in a powerful way. As Tim pointed out, “To the ancient people, the most chaotic, empty, wild, scary space they could imagine is the middle of the ocean at night.” For those early listeners of the creation story, the deep, dark waters were a place of great chaos and fear...very much like our response to the news of today.
Our lives are in chaos. Our hearts are in turmoil. We may not have a storm that subsides, but we have one thing even more powerful: We have a God who is with us in the midst of the storm.
Moses does not tell of a God who is distant and removed from the tumult of that early space. Instead, Moses reveals our God is one hovering over the dark waters, like a mother eagle that is just beginning to hover over the nest. God doesn’t distance himself from the chaos, he is present, bringing calm and peace to those experiencing the storm.
On a good day, we pray that God will stop the violence, end the suffering, direct our politicians to make wise choices, and keep us safe; in short, we pray that God will quiet the storm. Yet, I can guarantee that you will turn on the news tomorrow and another murder will be tallied, another car will crash, another scandal will break. I can also guarantee that, like a mother eagle protecting her chicks, God is in the midst of each and every one of those chaotic situations. God is there offering comfort and reassurance. And that is the best news of all.
Maybe you don't quite believe in this God who created heaven and earth. But, just know that God created everything, and we do mean everything, so he could be in a relationship with you. If you do call yourself Christian, share your God experiences below (Why do you believe? How have you encountered Him? What makes you faithful?) If you're new or trying to ""figure out"" where you stand with God, ask questions, know that it's ok to doubt, continue learning and seeking, find people who follow Him, come to church, and read people's responses below. We promise you will find a destiny you never thought possible!