C​haos and grace

© May 23, 2018 | Schulter Etyang

I hate chaos. I’m sure it’s an elder kid dynamic, but I hate chaos. I can smell chaos from a mile. I avoid chaotic people and situations like the plague. I am constantly trying to set things in order. I will notice dirty dishes lying in the sink and wash them. I will live in an ordered house. I like it when people queue. I prefer riding in a clean car. When Jenny and I go on holiday, I normally clean the house before we leave. In my mind, I don’t want to come back to a disorderly house. I want to come back, unpack, and relax. 

Jenny has suffered the brunt of my hate for chaos. I make crude remarks when I notice that she is chaotic. One of those crude remarks I have unleashed on her is, “chaos is your middle name.” Can you imagine? Bad. I know. But when she gets the opportunity to unleash the same line on me, she does it masterfully. And when she does, I have no choice but to zip my mouth.

In case you are wondering, I don’t have an obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. I am not obsessed with orderliness and perfection. Many times, I let things slide. However, as soon as I notice that chaos is mounting, I deal with it. As we say here in South Africa, chaos and I are not in the same WhatsApp group. 

Why is chaos everywhere? Adam and Eve were created to live in perfection. The Garden of Eden was a perfect place. Eden was heaven on earth. Eden, their home was a place of bliss and order. Their work was to protect the bliss and order and recreate it in the rest of the world. Everyone that was to be born out of their union was to do the same. That was the plan.

But after they rebelled against God, their rebellion unleashed chaos to the human race. Every human being born after Adam and Eve are born into this mess. Adam’s sin unleashed poverty, sickness, barrenness, strife, wars, division, divorce, adultery, abuse, racism, rape, identity issues, murder, slavery, sex trafficking, disobedience, corruption, all manner of evil and ultimately death.

So, we cannot escape this idea that we are all chaotic because we are all sinners. Even the best of us are chaotic. They just know how to hide their chaos.

But there is something that has always bothered me about Jesus. Jesus was always attracted to chaos. His life story is full of accounts of miracles that he performed – miracles to counter the chaos resulting from Adam’s sin. He even raised a few people from the dead. These people had experienced the ultimate result of Adam’s sin – death.

On the flip side, he detested religious people because they used their religious edifices to hide their chaos. Jesus would say to these people, for you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. (Matthew 23:25,27 NLT)

In Romans 5:20, Paul reveals to us how Jesus deals with chaotic and messed up people or situations. When on one hand, I hate chaos and tend to avoid it; Jesus loves chaotic situations because he meets those with his superabounding grace with more added to that.

Romans 5:20 (Wuest)

Moreover, law entered in alongside in order that the transgression might be augmented. But where the sin was augmented, the grace superabounded with more added to that

This is the idea behind this verse. Where there is a huge fire, Jesus rushes in and extinguishes the fire. But he doesn’t leave the place ruined and soaked in water. He doesn’t leave the owners of that house to pick after themselves. Jesus does so much more. He rebuilds and restores all that the fire has consumed. Jesus does not leave chaos as is. He transforms chaos into something beautiful.

What that means is this; chaos is the connecting dot or linking chain to God’s superabounding grace. This is huge because as I have tried hard to avoid chaos, I have actually been missing out on Jesus’ superabounding grace.

Chaos is the connecting dot or linking chain to God’s superabounding grace.

This is good news for many of us that won’t let our guards down in case someone sees our chaos. This is also good news for most of us who are constantly dealing with unending chaos. There is superabounding grace – with more added to it, for all of us.

More good news? Here’s more good news. Remember the fire? Jesus entered the burning building but did not come out alive. He was burned to death by the fire of God’s judgment. Why did he suffer such judgment? For us. We were the ones in the building that he rushed to and rescued. He took our place. In taking our place, he conquered chaos by embracing chaos. The gospel is this – Jesus entered into our chaos and conquered our chaos by his life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension. This then becomes the impetus by which we deal with the chaos in our lives.  

Jesus entered into our chaos and conquered our chaos by his life, death, burial,  resurrection, and ascension

So, as I have grown in the gospel, my dislike of chaos has slowly ebbed because I now know that I have superabounding grace to deal with it. I also know that this superabounding grace has the power to transform chaos into something beautiful – more beautiful, in fact. 

Hey, your chaos is not good but Jesus works with it for your good.

That’s what grace looks like

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Husband | Orthodox Charismatic Christian | Leads The Life Place | Enjoys meeting new people, reading, cooking, traveling and exercise | Loves Jo’burg