Chaos can come out of nowhere and blindside us before we even know what hit us. Like the time Marilyn and I were supposed to board a plane for Antofagasta, Chile, out of Miami, but we found the airline was on strike. To make things worse, no other airline would accept our tickets because Braniff Airlines would not endorse them for payment. Hundreds of people were sitting around and many even on the floor because there were no more seats. The faces of the people revealed they were bewildered, frustrated, and even angry. I still remember the feeling of helplessness when I went to tell Marilyn, after waiting my turn to find if there was a solution, that we were stuck. Helplessness hardly describes the feeling when you have no answer and there does not appear to be anyone who can help you find any either. My list of chaotic experiences could go on and on as yours could because life at times is beyond our control. When those undesirable things happen to us and we cannot stop them, we experience a range of negative emotions. Only when we turned this problem over to God did he help us find a solution. He led us out of our confusion when we trusted him, as he has done scores of times for us.
We experience powerful negative emotions during and after a traumatic event that can cause us intrusive and painful thoughts for a long time. The pain of the event can play in our brain like a looped video. We need someone to help us sort it all out. We long for clarity in life—the ability to make sense out of seemingly meaningless occurrences. Some of our worst memories may have to do with broken relationships because of death, divorce, conflict, or other problems. Sometimes we just do not know how to fix broken people, but God does. We need help to sort it all out. One can redeem our broken lives and make sense of the chaos—He is Jesus the Redeemer.
In the book of Ruth in the Bible, there is a story about redemption. Naomi has suffered enormous loss—her husband and two sons have died. She has been left with an emptiness she cannot fill and disillusionment she cannot overcome. She has returned with her daughter-in-law Ruth to her homeland, impoverished and broken and with no hope. God comes to Naomi’s rescue, and he sends a redeemer to change their situation.
Just as God redeemed the loss and chaotic experiences in Naomi and Ruth’s lives, he does that for us today. Life is often filled with chaos, leaving us in a whirlwind of confusion. What do we do in those moments? We look to the Redeemer—Jesus Christ who is able to turn chaos into meaning and purpose. That chaos frequently comes from our own sin and other times from the mistakes of others. God, however, specializes in turning chaos into meaning when we ask for his help. That is what the book of Ruth is about—two people realizing they need a redeemer. They seek God’s help, and he redeems their lives. He can do the same for you today, too.