Recently I had some 20-year-old carpeting and laminate flooring hauled away. We had it replaced with new carpeting and flooring. The house had been a rental, and who knows what had gotten on those floors over the years. It becomes quite a project when you are living in the home at the time. First, we had to remove all the things from the areas that needed flooring. Furniture, tables, knick-knacks and everything else was piled into our living room. Later, we did the same when the carpeting was put in. Everything had to be moved to the kitchen, other rooms, and even outside. There is a certain amount of discomfort not being able to move about your home in a usual way. Some doors were blocked, things we needed became unavailable, and there were also strangers in the house putting in the flooring. There is also a bit of fear. We hope we made the right choices and that there are no mistakes.
We as Christians know God has a sunny future for us in His Kingdom. Whatever the circumstance, if we are faithful and follow His way, we have that promise.
While in the midst of the chaos I thought about how it related to our Christian lives. We generally go about our days in a comfortable way. We are accustomed to how things are, even if we are not necessarily happy with every aspect of them. Then something happens that disrupts everything. Maybe it’s an illness, accident or job issues. Maybe there is a tragedy that upsets the entire household like a fire, death or natural disaster. Sometimes it’s as simple as being overbooked or some other stressful situation. These things can create chaos for us either emotionally or physically. We hope they are temporary, but that’s not always the case. In such times, we need to turn to God in prayer. He is our refuge when we feel things are out of control (Psalm 46:1-3; Romans 12:12).
Like the flooring in my house, life can get dirty, worn out, and can make things look miserable. Even when we try to be positive, looking at what is before us can make life seem dreary. So we start out by trying to ignore the problem. Pretending it is not there. We may try to step around it, make excuses or just put on a happy face, but that does not make it go away. The more we try to ignore things the worse they seem to become. The same is true when we spend all our time focusing on the issue before us. We may find we do not cope well when we dwell in that space. Chaos is dirty and makes us feel worn out. Romans 8:28 reassures us, reminding us that all things work for good for those who love God. There are lessons to be learned, and sometimes it is how to find peace (Philippians 4:6-7).
My flooring had been used and abused by any number of residents and pets. I had no idea how many or what things were done on it. Our situations may also have unknown factors that make it difficult for us. It is often difficult to make adjustments or decisions when we do not have the full story. And like the workers in my home, the foreignness of what is happening in our lives can be intimidating and uncomfortable. We are not sure how to act in this new situation. We can feel overwhelmed by the chaos it can create.
Fear is not uncommon either when we have a lot happening in our lives. We are unsure of what may lie ahead for us, how to fix an issue or, maybe, depending on the situation, how we can face others. God spoke through the prophet Isaiah, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10, New International Version). God is there for us not just sometimes, but always. We should remember to lean on Him when everything feels scary and unmanageable (Deuteronomy 31:6 and 1 Peter 5:7). Even the hardest of times and trials can be useful to us. We may not see it in the beginning, and the road may be long, but there is a reason and a season for things (Ecclesiastes 3:1). There is hope. God often allows us to go through trials to teach and to test us (1 Peter 4:12).
When my flooring was complete I sat back and looked at how beautiful it looked. It made me happy to be in the space and made everything else in the room look better. This is much how it is after chaos leaves our lives. We feel brighter and happier and often reflect on how things had been. It is often also a new start. The mess we were living with has been cleared, and there are brighter things ahead. We as Christians know God has a sunny future for us in His Kingdom (Daniel 7:18). Whatever the circumstance, if we are faithful and follow His way, we have that promise.