Let's Keep Things Orderly
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned. Nor shall the flame scorch. Isaiah 43:2
Such a timely verse! I have furiously dogpaddled against some strong currents as of late, and the heat of numerous physical afflictions has caused me to break into a spiritual sweat. Pray, use the right pillow, get prayer, eat the right foods, confess sin, more prayer, see doctors, run tests, do the therapy, more confessing, take pills, take more pills, and through it all, keep praying and getting prayer. I’ve done my best to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling. I've thanked God for keeping me from turning crispy critter, trusted Him to hold my head above water, relied heavily on the mediating prayers of faithful saints. [i]
God wants surrender, yes. Partnership, yes. Endurance, yes. But I reached the point where the enemy’s tactics to lay full responsibility for my recovery on me (and the Church) isn’t working as smoothly as it did at first. There comes a time when a person realizes it’s not just about what all we need to do on our end—the confessions of faith, the prayers, the warfare and such—to get life squared away. It boils down to trusting God to intervene.
Years ago, I received a prophetic word that God really likes that I am a woman who loves order, because God is a God of order. [ii] It was spot on. My family lovingly teases me about my house always being clean. Fueled by that prophetic affirmation, my usual comeback is, “Ah, but that’s the thing. It’s not clean, it’s orderly and that makes it look clean.”
Orderly. If only this disorderly, confused world would get on board. If only my own soul had gotten on board sooner; it would’ve saved me much distress!
But there’s a false sense of security when we can keep things orderly, predictable, and safe in the midst of chaos. Disorderly smacks of instability; instability feels threatening; threats trigger worry; worry turns to anxious striving to keep order, and restoring order if things become disorderly. Before you know it, your agitated soul has become a heavily trafficked airfield for demonic landings. [iii] But that’s fodder for some future blog. We’re talking about keeping things orderly.
Striving to maintain order adds a new twist to my interpretation of the Martha, Martha story. [iv] I see her flitting about her well-organized kitchen like a seasoned Head Chef, making sure her guests are amply and suitably fed. Are the leeks cut? Is that bread browned yet in the oven? She moves to the table. Did Jesus get His figs? The fish is already gone. My goodness, what a hungry bunch! She glances at her would-be Kitchen Porter sister, sitting at Jesus’ feet. I’m doing the best I can to make this meal halfway decent . . . not that it matters, I guess.
Aw, come on now, Martha and I aren’t the only ones with this inclination toward keeping life orderly. After all, our God of order does love order and harmony in the functioning of His Church. He likes things to run smoothly. [v]
But when I seek peace and rest through controlling circumstances, what God is after is His peace and rest in the midst of uncontrolled circumstances. “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things.” [vi] It’s not all about me keeping me (and everything else) in order. It’s about Him.
Sometimes laboring to keep things orderly—in the natural and spiritually—needs a decisive nudge in the direction of Be still and know that I am God, and Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. [vii] When floodwaters rise and flames intensify, it’s imperative that we persevere in spiritual warfare and the mediation of faithful saints. But our most-effective weapon is simple faith that; I will be with you . . . through the waters . . . through the fire.
In the beginning, God’s Spirit hovered over the face of the waters; God divided the waters from the waters; He gathered the waters together in one place and called them Seas—He is Lord of the waters. Waters may roar and be troubled, but He leadeth me beside the still waters. [viii]
God is a consuming fire—He is Lord of the fire. Fires may rage all around us, but He is a wall of fire round about to protect. He’s that fourth man with us in the fiery furnace of any and all afflictions. [ix]
Lord, thank You for another lesson learned. You who created and uphold all things by the Word of Your power, gave us life in the womb. You faithfully carry that life from the womb through our gray-haired years. [x] Help us in the midst of rising waters and fiery trials to be still and know that You are with us through it all.
[i] Philippians 2:12–13; James 5:16; Hebrews 3:13 [ii] 1 Corinthians 14:33 [iii] Witches Get Stitches/Katie Souza Facebook [iv] Luke 10:38–42 [v] 1 Corinthians 14:1–40; Acts 6:1–7; Ephesians 5:21–24; Proverbs 6:16–19 [vi] Luke 10:41 [vii] Psalm 46:10; Psalm 116:7 [viii] Genesis 1:2, 6–10; Psalm 23:2 [ix] Hebrews 12:29; Isaiah 64:1–2; Zechariah 2:5; Daniel 3:12–29 [x] Isaiah 46:3–4; Job 33:4; Psalm 139:15–17