I had another post written for today, but it didn’t feel right.
Heartbreaking news has been everywhere this week—in our cities, in our countries, in our world.
Our homeland has been shaken by the senseless and horrific attacks in Orlando. Our church family also lost an incredible seventeen-year-old in a fluke accident. A beautiful young wife and mama is fighting Stage 4 cancer. Another little boy was just diagnosed with leukemia. My Nunnie (grandmother) graduated to heaven. Two people we love are facing a divorce. And now I’m reading about the precious toddler who was snatched away by an alligator on a family vacation to Disneyworld.
I could keep going, but you already know…
It’s all devastating.
We’ve gotten cozy in our citified and suburban squares, where it’s easy to develop a false sense of control. We pencil-in our schedules. We execute our to-do lists. We order exactly what we want at our favorite coffee shops. We have plans. We have systems. We have climate-controlled environments.
But then we stumble into hard things, difficult situations, agonizing tragedies that are out of our jurisdiction. And, suddenly, we remember that we’re not in control. In fact, we never were.
My crew and I road-tripped to the Florida panhandle last week. One rainy day found us due to the tropical storm, Colin. And though it mainly hit to the east of us, we still felt the ripple effects for a few days—primarily in the waves.
What’s typically a spacious and sandy beach was covered with gray swells, nearly touching the boardwalks. The waves were bigger, stronger, and more powerful than ever.
As I stood there—feet in the sand, eyes on the sea—listening to the roar of the surf and watching the walls of water pound against each other, I was reminded just how small I am.
And how big, how wild, God is.
There are two kinds of wild:
- Wild, like unruly and rebellious.
- Wild, like untamable and free.
God is the untamable type—riding solo in His own category. And for that, I am thankful.
Because the honest truth is that I don’t always understand. I have a big ol’ stack of unanswered questions I’m constantly wading through. I get frustrated and angry and overwhelmed and defeated.
But the good news is that God is already awesome, so we don’t have to be.
There’s relief found in his wild arms—where there’s no limits, no boundaries, no borders to His ways. There’s nothing too far, too heart-wrenching, too awful, or too confusing to stop His relentless love or His sovereign plans from being carried out.
He created the never-ending waves, the immeasurable sky, and the billions of unique smiles on this planet. He also happens to be more mysterious, more passionate, more mighty, more grandiose, more brilliant, more merciful than we’ve ever dared to imagine.
He’s wild all right—in His character and about His kids. He created us, He sustains us, and even when it doesn’t feel like it, He carries us.
Wild, yet self-controlled. Wild, but always intentional.
And though God didn’t cause this broken world, He’ll certainly use it. He takes it all—the good, the bad, the ugly—and somehow weaves it together, creating one giant tapestry that will eventually make sense.
Sometimes we need to push pause long enough to acknowledge His wide-spanned awesomeness.
We pause—to weep with those who are mourning.
We pause—to surrender our flimsy control.
We pause—to worship the God of the universe.
Our hearts are crushed by 49 bullets, but our hope is not. God is still good, even when life is not good. God is still in control, even when this world seems uncontrollable. God is still King, even when we can’t physically see Him on His throne.
“Then why doesn’t He do something about it?” we ask.
Well, He did.
He sent His Son, Jesus, into our beautifully cracked existence to die the death we should have. All of the world’s yuck—past, present, and future—hung on his shoulders so that we’d get a chance at everlasting life, which is only found in Him.
His wild ways long for permission to access our broken spaces.
But right now? We’re living in the in-between zone. Jesus paid the ultimate debt, but He’s still not done. And while I’d love for Him to get rid of anything that’s destructive and hateful in the “mean time,” I’m also thankful He’s patient with sinners—like me.
“The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” (2 Peter 3:9)
This life has been compared to giant sculptures, paintings, and quilts. All we see is the close-up, behind-the-scenes view—where mud is slinging and paint is dripping and strings are tangled all over the place. Right now, it looks like one giant mess. But if we could zoom out, we would see a magnificent work in progress.
Bottom line: God is at work in this mess (which is the basically the condensed summary of the entire Bible).
The pain we experience is hard, but we can love even harder—all because He first loved us.
Jesus himself brings comfort with words that are still perfectly relevant today: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Whether you’re sitting in your living room or standing at the edge of an ocean that kisses every continent in the world, know that you have access to your wild, creator God.
Once again, Lord, we put our shaky hands into your strong ones. We whisper the words, “I trust you,” even through our doubts, even through our limited understanding—knowing that YOU are bigger than it all and even closer than we realize.