Chaos is everywhere.
We know the feeling.
The feeling of hopelessness as we walk into our child’s room to see every toy, every stuffed animal, every book, and every piece of clothing strewn around the room as if a tornado had touched down in this very spot.
The feeling of exhaustion, as we come home from work with more projects still to complete than were finished during the day, with piles of laundry and dirty dishes, and a barrage of text messages and emails demanding we give more while knowing our tanks are not only empty, but hemorrhaging loss.
The feeling of despair, as we sit in the doctor’s office realizing the doctor is still talking but we haven’t heard a thing, our minds still numb from the cancer diagnosis and our thoughts racing wondering what does it mean, will I die soon, and how will my spouse and children survive.
Our lives are filled with chaos. Not just the chaos of busyness, but the chaos of life that often hits us harder than we ever thought imaginable. Our lives, filled with the good, the bad, and the unavoidable, in which we desperately hope that it will all stop, or will all make sense; or even that there is simply hope.
Our lives are filled with chaos and we seek a word from the Lord. Into this chaos, Luke 8 offers a series of miracle stories.
It begins with Jesus on the Sea of Galilee. He’s traveling by boat, and since he’s joined by experienced fisherman, Jesus calmly relaxes by himself, and sleeps. But a storm quickly arises, and not just any storm. It’s a storm so strong that it causes the experienced fisherman to panic. It’s a storm so strong that it is threatening death and destruction for anything in its wake. Panic is everywhere, but not with Jesus. Jesus sleeps peacefully. Not because he is unaware, but because he is not afraid. He knows the voice that told the waters in Genesis 1 just how far they could go, can put the waters back in their place in an instant. So he wakes. And he speaks. And the Sea is calmed. The storm is over.
Next, Jesus finds himself on the other side of the Lake. The Gentile side of the lake. The side where he’s greeted not by adoring crowds, but by a crazed madman. He’s demon possessed. They call him Legion because of the amount of his demons. The demons have taken the man’s life away. He lives among the tombs because he’s not welcome in town. The villagers have tried to control him with shackles, but he breaks them and runs away. He’s unclothed, and not in his right mind. The craziness of his life mirrors the craziness of the storm. But just like with the storm, Jesus commands, and there is calm. The man is now sitting still, fully clothed, in his right mind, and about to return to life in the village. Everything that had been wrong, has been reversed. The chaos, has become calm.
Finally, Jesus moves back to the Jewish side of the lake. Here, he’s greeted by adoring crowds, but also desperation. Two desperate stories require his attention. One, a desperate father hoping for a cure for his twelve-year-old daughter who is close to death. The other, a desperate woman who has suffered with a sickness for twelve years and lost everything trying to get better, yet no cure is found. Both are desperate. Both are hopeless. Both are as good as dead. Yet Jesus says, don’t fear. Don’t fear the storms raging around you. Don’t fear the demons threatening your survival. Don’t fear death, the enemy of us all. Jesus heals the woman. Jesus heals the girl. Both are as good as dead. Jesus gives them life.
In these stories Luke tells us to remember. Remember Jesus who calms the chaos of the storms. Remember Jesus who calms the chaos of the demons. Remember Jesus who calms the chaos of sickness and death. Remember Jesus who steps in right when we can’t handle anymore and says “peace, be still.” Remember Jesus, who is never surprised or scared of the chaos, but calmly restores the world to normal.
Remember Jesus. Trust Jesus. The one who says chaos is no more.
We know Chaos. Hopefully we also know Jesus. Remember Jesus.