December 27, 2010

To Live is Christ — at peace with God’s way of organizing

The Genesis account of creation says that creation was “good.” Then it describes the fall of humanity into sin and tells that the fall resulted in weeds.

Sin certainly brought many other things into life that I would rather not experience, but as I was thinking about God, creation and the word “confusion” I pictured a tangle of weeds. This verse reinforces Genesis; God did not author the disorder we call weeds. 

For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. (1 Corinthians 14:33)
Of course this verse is not talking about the confusion of weeds, but the confusion that comes with conflict.  Disharmony and confusion are partners. People involved in conflict are confused about each other’s position on matters, by heightened emotions and by illogical rhetoric. God does not author that kind of confusion either.

In nature, we tend to want “order” to counter the chaos of weeds and randomness. However, in the mind of God, I’m wondering if the opposite of confusion is beauty rather than order. If nature were orderly, at least in human thinking, trees would grow in neat rows. However, God’s idea of order is not alphabetical, numerical or geometrical. While those are fine for our minds, the mind of God seems to have determined that the antithesis of confusion is beauty.

Another example comes to mind. Sometimes our church sings a piece in which the men and women each sing entirely different words. Whoever wrote this song of praise had to be guided by the Holy Spirit because the result is not disorder but beauty.

Another example is in church ministries. Often members of a congregation are all doing different things, yet the overall result is harmony rather than chaos, again illustrating that God’s opposite for disorder is different from our idea of organization.

In the verse above, He also defines order with the word “peace.” This also fits the “orderly” examples I’ve been considering. A clump of trees or a randomly mixed field of wild flowers has peaceful effect. In my mind, this is far more peaceful than our “ordered” gardens.

It works like this in the Body of Christ also. The randomness (or seemingly so) of our efforts under the direction of the Holy Spirit are almost impossible to put on a flow chart or a church structure diagram. The Lord simply does not work in ways that we can predict, chart or diagram.

For example, we are praying for unsaved family members. Just as when I prayed for the salvation of my husband, God is not letting us see the order to what He is doing. Yet at the same time, His efforts to soften hearts are not chaotic or confusing. What He does has a pattern to it, a pattern that is in perfect harmony.

Sometimes I feel confused, but knowing that God is not the author of that, I realize my confusion comes because I have forgotten that my sovereign God is conducting the events of my life. I’ve also forgotten that His ways are not my ways. I cannot “see” the order in the plan of God unless He shows it to me, but remembering that He is not the source of my confusion helps me realize an important truth. I need to quit trying to arrange things to suit my sensibilities. What makes sense to me interferes with His definition of order. God tells me over and over that I walk by faith, not by sight. When I trust Him (rather than what I can see), the world around me can be totally confused and confusing, but I am at peace.

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