Have you ever felt like your life was swirling completely out of your control? You don't know why the path of it has led you to where you are today, and you surely have no clue what tomorrow should look like?
Yes? Me too.
This weekend my plans were changed. They had been on my calendar for weeks, I was packed and ready to go, and then I got The Call: Due to circumstances beyond my control, the trip was cancelled.
I'm an organized, detail-oriented person, and this change threw a honkin' big monkey wrench into my works. I don't always do well with surprises like this one, but I tried to go with the flow, as best I could.
I unpacked. I looked at my (now blank) weekly planner pages. I twiddled my thumbs.
Then other unforeseen events happened, making my weekend all that more puzzling and uncertain. And to add insult to injury, I had two sleepless nights. By the end of the weekend, I was physically tired, mentally beat, and feeling (note that dangerous word - "feeling!") like I didn't know if I was coming or going, and in fact, like my entire life was swirling completely out of control.
The ancient patriarch, Job, of the Old Testament, must have felt the same. In a few moments he lost everything - his family, his fortune, and his health. Over and over he questioned God: Why has this happened to me? I've been a righteous man! I don't deserve this! Why, God?
Finally God spoke and answered Job. His answers took an unexpected turn, though. God battered Job with question after question about some of the wild animals that live among us. (See Job 39.)
"Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?"
"Who let the wild donkey go free?"
"Can you trust the wild ox to haul in your grain?"
God followed his questions with statements about some of those strange beasts, too:
"God did not endow [the ostrich] with wisdom or give her a share of good sense."
"The horse rejoices in its strength, and charges into the fray."
"The [eagle's] young ones feast on blood, and where the slain are, there it is."
Only God as the Lord-of-the-Animals can imagine them, create them, control them, and care for them. Only He knows why he created some of these strange beasts and that is enough for us to know. As strange and wild as they are, the Lord does not destroy them, but takes care of them.
Perhaps God means to show Job, and us, that every creature, whether familiar, mysterious, difficult, or odd, is similar to suffering and life chaos. Sometimes we can recognize its purpose, but other times it's simply painful and puzzling. Whether our lives seem to be swirling out of control or not, we can be assured that it is all a part of God's order for us at those times.
Maybe we all could use a field trip to the zoo. I suspect if we examine those animals more carefully, we'll experience God calming our inner chaos.