Making Sense of All the Calamity (My Redeemer Lives 2:3)

Fear and failure never rear their ugly heads stronger than when the acid rain of life comes.

The “Why me-s?!” of life easily turn into “If I would have…” when we begin to feel pelted with life at its junkiest  — loss, humiliation, disappointment in humanity, the uphill climb. To avoid our fears, in a vague attempt to make sense of all the calamity of life in our own lives and around us, things like blame, bitterness, broken relationships, and isolation become realities that weigh heavy in our chests.

There is the story of a woman in 1 Kings 17:17-24 who couldn’t make sense of calamity. She lashed out. But God provided an answer…a resurrection kind of answer.

Read 1 Kings 17:17-24 –

17 After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill. And his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. 18 And she said to Elijah, “What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son!” 19 And he said to her, “Give me your son.” And he took him from her arms and carried him up into the upper chamber where he lodged, and laid him on his own bed. 20 And he cried to the Lord, “O Lord my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?” 21 Then he stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the Lord, “O Lord my God, let this child’s life come into him again.” 22 And the Lord listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived. 23 And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper chamber into the house and delivered him to his mother. And Elijah said, “See, your son lives.” 24 And the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.”

Don’t miss verse 18 and verse 20. Both the woman and Elijah end up with questions for God:

“What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son!”

And he cried to the Lord, “O Lord my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?”

We always jump to look for sin when calamity comes – Who messed up? Was it me? Was it my spouse? Was it my friend?

This woman had a close connection to Elijah. In the very same chapter of 1 Kings in verses 8-16, immediately preceding the previous reading, the woman experiences an honest-to-goodness miracle through Elijah, acknowledging the might and power of the One True God  — food for many days, unspent oil, provision.

What was the problem then? What happened? Why this meeting of fear and faith in verses 18?

Asking questions during times we don’t understand is always a good start; let’s give the woman that. Fear and all the feelings of failure  — our own or that of others  — spoken is a lot less powerful in our lives. Questions are not the problem.

Matthew Henry puts it like this –

“Our mountain never stands so strong but it may be moved…”

The miracle, the provision is an important act of God. However, when we place our faith in the mountain, in only the tangible acts of God  — provision, stability, prophets and preachers, breath and life we can see in front of us  — we will be disappointed in what God offers time and again.

We end up looking at God and saying, “What the heck?! What is this? Which sin are You punishing me for?” We see ourselves as big enough to escape the destiny of a broken world, but then the mountain is moved and crushes our hope.

Instead, God offers us more in the Resurrection of Christ Jesus –

Hope that cannot be seen.

Romans 8:23-25:

And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

We are all imperfect in our response to God, even Elijah. But God does not demand a perfect response. He answers Elijah and the widow with a promise, a foreshadowing –

3 times Elijah lays on the boy

3 days of death Jesus sat in a dark cavern

And then Life.

This story of Old Testament resurrection reminds us that our confidence is in things not seen, mountains of stability in the storm like the peace that passes all understanding, joy constant, and eternal Life today.

Our questions, our fears are met with answers in the Word of God, and in calamity we see Life because of the Resurrection.

Look for the Life. Think of a recent struggle of your own, or a report you have heard on the news. Where is God working Life? What promises of God remain despite it all? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

This is our resurrection God, making sense of calamity, bringing Life.

Above All Names – Hope

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope.

1 Timothy 1:1

In this world, hope appears to have one major problem…the expectations attached to it. So often in this life, our expectations are met with devastation, disappointment, or disillusionment. We tend to apply the same level of confidence we would with people, in our relationship with God. We ask, seek, and expect so little from Him, for fear that our expectation will be met with disappointment. But Christ Jesus gives more. He, Himself, is our Hope, our confidence. He was prophesied from the beginning. He came as a baby boy. He died and rose to save you. What He says, He does, and what He does, He says in His Word. At the very sound of His name, we are filled with Hope.

Freedom in Hope lived loud (Chasing Freedom 5:1)

Name one word that describes your emotional state at this moment?


Depending where you are at in life, your burdens, your zeal for this day, you may be feeling happy, sad, lonely, excited, or frustrated.

I have no idea what you wrote down, but I’d love to hear it in the comments! I can imagine that if we put all our words together we would have a wide and varied list of descriptions. Our emotions change day to day, moment to moment, even when some seem persistent enough to poke at us for a season.

My word would be filled or freaking out depending on the attitudes in my house, the schedule on my phone, and the news on the screen.

Hope is different. Romans 5:5 tells us that Hope doesn’t disappoint us.

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

It does not shame us.

It does not disgrace us.

It does not confuse us.

Can you imagine what it would be like to live without hope?

I pray you do not know. Without it our emotions and life itself feel so confusing, so broken beyond repair, so disgraceful.

Paul’s heart screamed out to the Galatians that hope was in front of them despite life’s confusion and doubts. Hope was worth gripping onto with all their might, even as someone tried to drag it away. Hope does not disgrace.

Let’s read Galatians 5:2-6 to hear more:

Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

The false brothers, the Jewish believers that insisted on circumcision for the Galatians, were trying to sever their relationship with Jesus, sever their relationship with salvation. Their method of dispensing the law was confusion, so Paul uses straightforward language. Earlier in Galatians we saw his linear arguments about the place of the law in life after Christ Jesus. We saw the place of sonship in Abraham, sonship in Christ, and the technical differences between the two. Now Paul just says it like it is:

Circumcision, not necessary. It doesn’t matter. End of story. (Galatians 2:2)

So often in this confusing world we need someone to do that for us.

And Paul does:

We cannot keep the whole law. (Galatians 2:3)

There is sin in us, sin in the world, and we cannot make it better. We can’t wish it away. We can’t ignore it or it will choke us. It will push us off the cliff, and we will find ourselves watching as grace slips away from our line of sight.

Obviously, this is not freedom.

Satan’s breed of confusing us – whispering in our ears we’re not enough and we’re just fine on our own, all at the same time – it scratches to try to sever us from God and His goodness, His mercy. (Galatians 2:4)

Paul wants better for the Galatians and he wants better for us.

“For through the Spirit…”

The Spirit brings something new into the confusion that literally makes things right. Makes us righteous and changes our lives with hope.

Hope shines Christ into confusion.

Circumcision, uncircumcision – none of it matters. That is hope. Letting Christ be the center is where freedom is.

Just letting Him live out and live loud in our life;

letting Him, through the Spirit already in us by His grace, infiltrate all of our life, all of our heart, our soul, our mind, our strength,

that is freedom.

We aren’t free falling. We are held tightly in His righteousness, in freedom won for us.

We have hope.

Hope speaks over the voices that create all the confusion. Life might look or feel confusing now, or at least some days, but we eagerly wait, Paul says, for that moment, that time when all things will be new before our eyes. We pass on that hope to our children and to our families, to our friends, because who wants to live without hope, without freedom?

Today might be confusing, but Christ lives loud. The Spirit lives loud constantly reminding us…

“Oh yeah, hope.”

Hope deals with the big stuff, so we can bring it into the little stuff. Hope walks into your life shaped like grace and works into the fabric of everything around you.

Hope is loud like that too.

And hope does not disappoint, does not shame, does not disgrace.

Hope frees.

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Discussion questions:

What things in life feel confusing or produce anxiety for you? (Like wars, family arguments, etc.)

What emotion is your least favorite to deal with? (anger, fear, excitement, etc.)

What difference does hope make in the day-to-day in your home or work, as you make dinner, talk to your family, do work projects, etc.? Where do you see Jesus living loud in the everyday?

There are a lot of etc.’s in my examples. 😉 What hope is there in the fact that Jesus holds all the etc.’s?