Sunday, February 9, 2020

Learning to Thrive in the Midst of Chaos

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

I love how relevant and real the Bible is. God’s word doesn’t sugar coat life. He uses authentic—flawed—people to illustrate His truth, His forgiveness, and His grace. I can find myself in almost everyone I read about. Occasional I get it right and find myself imitating Mary. Although all too often I’m more of a Martha clone. I’m as impulsive as Peter, as much of a doubter as Thomas, and as unwilling to leave circumstances in God’s capable hands as Sarah.

Some days I’m not certain living unruffled is a possibility for someone as flawed as me. Anytime life throws me a curve, I begin reacting to the busyness instead of concentrating on walking with God through the chaos. 

For example, there was a trip I took to speak at a conference when several of our appliances staged a full-scale revolt. I wasn’t there, but my poor husband and three sons witnessed the carnage. 

The first I heard about the disaster was through a call from my husband. He announced, via cell phone, that our refrigerator had died. Yes, he’d called the repair man before he called me—he’s a truly wise man—but all the technician could do was apply a temporary fix so I could be the one to pick out the new one once I got home. The next day hubby called again. This time the casualty was our clothes dryer, and it was beyond help. 

On the last day of my conference I was leaving a class when my phone vibrated in my pocket. Sure enough, the picture on the screen promised it was my beleaguered husband. I seriously considered letting it go to voice mail, but my better nature prevailed and I worked up the fortitude to answer. Sure enough our stove and microwave—two separate appliances in our home—had joined the list of dead and dying devices.

This put me in full gotta-fix-this mode. I wasn’t worried about peace, I was deep into my to-do list.

On the flight home God and I had a discussion.

I began by pointing out to Him that while I was away from home being obedient, He could at least look after things there. I reminded Him how hard it was to concentrate on what He wanted me to do when my life was in upheaval. Surely He could orchestrate better circumstances from now on.

I know, He should have thumped me hard on the head. Instead of sending down a lightning bolt at my audacity, He pointed me back to the Bible. Specifically He sent me to study Jesus during the chaotic years of His ministry.

As I thumbed through the accounts of Jesus’ three short years of ministry I shook my head. I was reluctant to take Him as a legitimate example. After all, I explained to the Creator of the Universe, Jesus was God so He had the ability to stay calm in trying circumstances. I was flawed and weak. I needed my heavenly Father to cut me some slack. 

We are never so blind as when we refuse to see. 

Instead of chastising me, God sent me back to His word and to this verse, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:12 (ESV).

Well ouch. Just ouch. Talk about getting my attention.

When something in the Bible troubles me, I’ve learned that instead of ignoring it or glossing over it, I need to dig deep and see what God is actually saying. So in light of what God was teaching me, I dug in and tried to make sense of something uncomfortable. 

Even if I could ignore how well Jesus handled ministry in real life circumstances, I couldn’t minimize the fact that we were promised the ability to do amazing things ourselves. Not because we’re now self-sufficient—never that. Instead it was possible because we would have a helper. Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit to provide everything we needed and more. 

I was out of excuses. 

I recognized that I’d fallen into the trap of dismissing how Jesus did life simply because I knew He was the Son of God. I completely ignored the fact that Jesus was also fully human—struggling with weariness, stress, and the difficulties of balancing life. He faced many of the same issues we face today—difficult family situations and members, drama in His friends and followers, and a world that was hostile to His belief system. All of these are things I can relate to.

After apologizing to God and asking forgiveness, I spent the next few weeks looking at Jesus’ life. I dissected and devoured every encounter the Bible records and translating it into a pattern I could apply to my own life. I learned that I must never make the mistake of trivializing the trials He faced. Within those trials lay the keys to living in peace while chaos whirls around us

I learned 3 basic things by studying Jesus’ life in regard to conquering chaos.
  • 1. The foundational fact I discovered was how everything Jesus did flowed from the relationship He had with His Father. Just like us, He and His Father shared a yoke as He served. He didn’t try to do anything apart from God. His strength was not His own. It flowed from the power of God at work through Him.
  • 2. also observed that Jesus’ life was characterized by an ongoing conversation with God. Reading the Bible, sometimes I saw the specific communication spelled out, other times it was referred to or implied. Regardless, it was a defining hallmark of the way Jesus lived.
  • 3. Finally, I saw that He let go of His priorities and committed Himself to following God’s path, no matter how difficult seemingly crazy. He didn’t let the expectations of others dictate His actions or distract Him from the purpose of God.
*Devotion used with permission from UnRuffled, Thriving in the Midst of Chaos, Bold Vision Books


Edie Melson is a woman of faith with ink-stained fingers observing life through the lens of her camera. No matter whether she’s talking to writers, entrepreneurs, or readers, her first advice is always “Find your voice, live your story.” As an author, blogger, and speaker she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her numerous books reflect her passion to help others develop the strength of their God-given gifts and apply them to their lives. Connect with her on her website,  through FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


  1. This is EXCELLENT. Sometimes my prayers are more like a detailed instruction list than they are communion with God. I tell Him what He needs to do and how He needs to do it! I love your points here. I'm speaking on trials this morning--and some of this article just might make its way into my presentation!! Love you, Edie!

    1. Oh Julie, thank you for the encouragement! You’re welcome to use any of this 🥰 Blessings, E

  2. Thank you Edie for this reminder! So many times I forget to put him FIRST in the chaos of life. Blessings to you and Kirk!

    1. Darlene, I think we ALL do that, at least part of the time! Blessings, E

  3. Thank you so much for this Word and wisdom I needed right now. God is faithful.

    1. I'm so glad I was able to encourage you! Blessings, E

  4. A lot of food for thought there. Thank you.

  5. Thanks for sharing! Such good stuff here. I love the "ongoing conversation with God" part! And, I too am guilty of expressing my desires to God as a to-do list, like Julie mentioned above, instead of a conversation that shows my life in obedience to what He wants for me.

  6. Wow, one disaster after another, but you gave some great insights into how Jesus handled chaos. I especially appreciated #3 where you said we need to follow God's priorities, not our own. So true, but often so hard. Thanks for the reminder.