Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Order and Chaos

During the first week of reading the One-Year Chronological Bible, I've really zipped through time. Starting with when the earth was formless and void, I've moved all the way through the death of Abraham's wife, Sarah, and the marriage of their son, Isaac.

The main thing that has struck me so far is that God is a God of order, not chaos. He has a purpose and a schedule. Men and women do impulsive things. They can be clueless and arbitrary. They do bad things because of emotions. But God is always there with his plan. Nothing these creatures do throws him into a tizzy. You get the feeling that even their crazy impulsive acts are all worked into his design. Yes, he has to deal with them pretty harshly from time to time, as in that whole flood business. But again, he didn't throw a fit and do it on the spur of the moment. There was a plan, one that took many years to come to fruition. And he included a plan for restoring the human race as well as the animals and the Earth.

On the one hand, God's perfect order makes me feel a little bad. As I have mentioned many times, my life often feels like sheer chaos. Nothing I intend to do seems to work out. I ask myself, can I really be leading a godly life if it seems to be in such disorder?

But then I realize how God has been shaking up the plans of even the godly people in these first chapters of Genesis. He tells Abraham to move to a strange land. I doubt Noah originally intended to devote his life to building a huge boat--0n dry land. When Rebekah made her usual trip to the well for water that fateful evening, she no doubt had her schedule mapped out for the following day. Nice and routine. Instead, she found her whole life shaken up as she headed far away from her home, suddenly engaged to Abraham's son, Isaac.

So maybe it's not such a bad thing to be flexible, to be willing to change our plans at a moment's notice. The trick for me is to figure out when I'm veering off course because God has something better for me to do, or when I'm just being lazy or disorganized.

Either way, when I read through the Bible like this, I'm comforted by the fact that God is always there, picking up the pieces, getting the wayward ones back on track.