Joy in the Chaos

Henri Nouwen was leaving a Yale for a time of ministering in Peru. He received a letter from a man who wanted to know if humanity would survive the century. In part, Henri wrote…

I really don’t know if our civilization will survive the century. …I really think we can [live with hope] because our Lord has given us His promise that he will stay with us at all times.He is the God of the living, He has overcome evil and death and his love is stronger than any form of death and destruction. That is why I feel that we should continually avoid the temptation of despair and deeepen our awareness that God is present in the midst of all the chaos that surrounds us and that that presence allows us to live joyfully and peacefully in a world so filled with sorrow and conflict.

Love, Henri. P. 45

The end of the world has to be on everyone’s mind because every other movie seems to be about the ultimate disaster that will bring the end to us all! The post apocalyptic trope in movies and print tells us that humanity knows that at some point there is an end and it’s usually not painted in a very pretty picture. So, is there a reason to hope?

Henri affirms that there is indeed reason to hope. The hope is not in how great human beings are, but in the promises and power of who God is and how he has described himself to us. I love the idea that we should not give into the temptation of despair but realize that God‘s presence in the chaos surrounds us. That is what gives us hope.

I think so often people want a life without chaos, without conflict. There seems to be this idea that when we are good people then good things characterize our lives. But only someone whose eyes are totally closed to the circumstances around them can accept such a proposition. Terrible things happen in the world in which we live. God‘s promise is not to take away all of those terrible things. His promise is to be present in the chaos and hurt and pain and tears that come because of life in this broken world. That’s why we say, out here hope remains. Because it does. Because of that, there is joy to be found in the chaos…God is there with us.


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