God, the Chaos Slayer
Robin Weidner, May 2008
"I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” Isaiah 45:3
My husband Dave and I have started leading Pure in Heart days. With the men and women divided, we take the shame off of Satan’s attacks on our purity by opening up about our own struggles, framing the battle from the Bible, and giving concrete ways we can help each other win this battle. We’ve watched God take down the walls, as Christians learn how to talk to each other about these issues.
To frame the battle, I read some excerpts from my new book in progress about Eve. In one excerpt, Eve, in deep mourning over Abel’s death and Cain’s banishment asks, “Can God once again bring light after darkness?” At a recent seminar, one woman told me she had her own version of that question. With her voice trembling just a little, she asked, “Can God bring innocence after impurity?” My answer? “Absolutely, yes!”
How can I be so sure of this? Perhaps it’s because many of my own struggles with shame really boil down to the same basic question. Can God take the chaos that comes after heartache, or even sin, and make something beautiful of it? This is a question that touches a place deep inside of my heart.
Peace After Devastation?
This same question was addressed a couple of weeks ago at the Pepperdine Bible Lectureships in a class taught by Dr. Charles Rix titled “Loss, Grief and Re-Creation.” Ten or so years ago at this very lectureship, Rix’s wife found a suspicious spot on her skin… melanoma. After successful treatment and seven years of remission, another spot appeared. Several short months later…she was gone.
In the small classroom, it quickly became obvious that every person there had been touched deeply by sorrow. To make sense of his own personal chaos, Charles found himself drawn to the very beginning of the Bible.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." Genesis 1:1
Rix explained that the words “formless and empty” come from a Hebrew phrase that is just used once in the Bible—Tohu va bohu. Tohu va bohu represents a darkness so deep, a chaos so complete, that a phrase had to be created to describe it.
From Darkness to Re-Creation
Yet in this deep darkness, we find the spirit of God hovering, ready to go to work. If you read on in Genesis 1 and 2, we find:
- Darkness being replaced by light — Genesis 1:3-5
- God creating great sea creatures (dragons) — Genesis 1:21
- Adam being created out of the dirt of the earth — Genesis 2:7
In fact, in the phrase “God created” we see a Hebrew word only used of God…bara. Bara represents the creation/recreation of life that only God can do. Creating from nothing. Starting from scratch. Even if it means getting his hands dirty. We also learn that God's creation is not hindered by darkness or chaos. And, just as God's creation of the great sea monsters reflected his wisdom (Psalm 105:24-26), we can rest assured that God knows our "monsters of the deep" and, in his perfect providence, has a purpose for them.
From Impurity to Purity
After I spoke recently in Los Angeles, Nancy Mannel (one of the elder’s wives there) gave me a touching compliment. She said that as I spoke, I radiated purity.
Why was I so moved? At the beginning of the seminar, I had just confessed my many losses purity wise. From being sexually abused as a child, to using my body to pursue guys in my teens, to making out in empty college classrooms and church buildings in my college years, to heart-wrenching impurity while I was engaged to my husband. During our marriage, I’ve battled love addiction and participated in Dave and I’s dance of sexual addiction and codependency.
But here’s the beauty of God’s re-creative power. After years of struggle, surrender and prayer, God has brought purity out of a marriage scarred by sexual addiction. Light out of darkness. Peace out of chaos. And that gives me hope for the unanswered questions I still carry in my heart.
When Satan leads us astray and we either go into the depths of insecurity or into the depths of impurity, I’m convinced the spirit is hovering nearby waiting for us to invite him in. Why? He’s anxious to begin God’s re-creative work.
And, the Spirit doesn’t just patch up the old to make us “passable.” Working in conjunction with God and Jesus, he makes a whole new creation! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
From Devastation to a New Creation
In fact, the whole Bible story is one of chaos being replaced with a new creation. Think of…
- David becoming a man after God’s own heart after adultery and a heartless murder.
- Naomi’s son marrying a non-believer named Ruth who ended up in the genealogy of Christ.
- A Samaritan woman who went from sexual sin to bearing salvation to an entire town.
- Paul the angry persecutor becoming Paul the softhearted prophet.
Do you have pockets of darkness, perhaps even tohu va bohu? Do you ever feel marked by mistakes you’ve made in the past? Or controlled by chaos in the present? The Bible has some good news for you. God the Creator—the chaos slayer—is on your side!
And He, and only He, can make something brand new…something beautiful and profound…out of your times of darkness, your heartaches, your unfulfilled desires and yes, even your sin.
A special thanks to Charles Rix for his beautiful and moving lesson.
2 Samuel 22:9, Psalm 91:5-7, Psalm 112:4, Psalm 126:4-6, Psalm 139:12, Isaiah 9:1-3, Isaiah 43:25, Isaiah 65:17
What parts of your life seem unredeemable? How does God display His ability to renew you?
Listen to God’s voice:
What words does God use to describe His creation?
Think about the words of this song:
Something beautiful, something good.
All my confusion, you understood.
All I had to offer you was brokenness and strife,
But you made something beautiful of my life.
How has God turned the broken spots in your life into a new creation?