Constantly changing conditions exemplify the instability of this life. No one knows what crisis they may meet tomorrow. There's no way of looking into a crystal ball and seeing what changes are about to be thrown into your life. At around 12:00pm on July 27, 2013 I stopped to eat lunch with my brother and sister-in-law at a KFC. This was last face to face conversation I would ever have with them on this earth. After we ate we loaded the teens back on the bus and prepared to be back at the church in a few hours. I traveled by myself in a car behind the bus. While on the road Chad texted me about wanted to bring Daniel to the Indianapolis Colts training camp that was being held close to our house. That was the last form of communication I ever had with Chad. I never expected our journey that day to end in chaos. I could never have predicted that four people would be in heaven before the sun went down that day. The events of the bus accident were a whirlwind of chaos and terror. In those moments trusting God was never more important for me than it was right then. There were several lessons that I learned about trusting God in the midst of chaos:
1. Remember that God is Worthy of Your Trust.
Even when your world feels like it just turned upside down you can trust God to do as He says. Even though your world feels like its in chaos God is still in complete control. The writer of the Proverbs says that we should trust in the Lord with all our hearts. It's easy to feel like trusting God with all your heart when all is going well but in the midst of chaos you don't always feel like trusting God with all your heart.
As I ran across the street the scene of the bus accident my heart was pounding with a feeling of terror I had never before experienced. The very first thing I saw when I approached the bus was my little nephew Chase lying on his back in the middle of the road. In an instant I scooped him up and began to pray. I prayed that God would spare his parents. I was still holding Chase in my arms when I heard the news of Chad and Courtney's deaths. In that moment trusting God was never more important for me than right now. I had to force myself to remember all the verses that I had memorized as a child. I had to remind myself that the Lord and His promises are the foundation of my security.
2. Substitute Faith for Fear.
One emotion that can undermine your faith like no other emotion is the emotion of fear. When anxiety of the future or the present grips you it squeezes down so tight you lose the ability to completely trust God. The apostle Paul records clearly that God has not given us the spirit of fear.
Sometimes when I close my eyes before bed I can see that bus flipping over in front of me. I can still feel the heat of the pavement as I ran across the road to the scene of the accident. I can still remember the fear that I was experiencing. It was a gripping fear that controlled my every thought and action. If I'm not careful that same fear can overwhelm me. I have to remind myself to surrender my fear into the capable arms of my Savior.
3. Express Your Doubts to the Lord.
While in the midst of his own chaos John the Baptist questioned Jesus. Imprisoned and awaiting execution John brought his doubts before the Lord. Are you the true Messiah? I'm about to be beheaded - why aren't you busy saving me? Jesus didn't act offended by John't questioning. He gave John the answers he needed and as a result we read of John praising Jesus (Matthew 11).
I never experienced doubt the way I did when on July 27,2013. There was a time when I refused to admit that God would allow something like this to happen. Why would he take a young vibrant couple away from their family and ministry? How could the deaths of four people really bring him any glory? For days after I brought these questions and many more before my God in my own personal devotions. I was searching for answers and I wanted more than anything else to have peace about the events of July 27th. I praise God that He is not threatened by my questions. He provides me answers and gives me peace through His Word and through the testimony of His saints.
4. Praise God.
Psalm 22:3 tells us that God inhabits the praises of His people. Even in the midst of our greatest tragedy we can praise God and in our praise He is with us. The truth is that when I praise God I can't focus on the chaos that surrounds me. When I praise God it's difficult to look at my own situation and ignore what God is trying to teach me.
I'll be honest. Praising God about losing your family members is not an easy thing to do. I don't naturally see losing my brother and sister-in-law and unborn baby niece as anything but a tragedy. From my perspective there is nothing inherently praise-worthy about the death of family members. It's in the midst of tragedy that I have to remind myself that even though my world feels like it just flipped upside down God is still constant. God did not take a break from being God. He didn't step down from the throne or stop watching over His saints. The very fact that my God is still trustworthy even in the midst of chaos is worthy of all of my praise.
In the events of July 27, 2013 I learned a lesson I never could have learned before. I learned that the life of faith involves trusting God even in the face of absolute chaos.
Posted by Caleb
5/25/2021 02:58:21 am
I came acroos your article on trusting God in Chaos, as my daughter is going through a bad divorce. Your situation and faith in chaos is helpful to remind myself of the truth of praise in all situations.
8/14/2021 02:04:17 pm
Thank you for this article. I lost my mother in May of 2021 and then 3 weeks later my father died. Both of my parents were in their 80's and not in good health so I was mentally trying to prepare for that time when I would lose one or the other but I never thought that they would both leave at the same time. That defiantly threw my world into chaos and confusion as I tried to juggle my faith, fear and reality. Thank you for your words of wisdom. I am sorry about your loss.
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