Joshua 1:1-9; Jeremiah 29:10-14
When I first found out I was preaching today, I began to plan the sermon. I gathered some scriptures and made some thoughtful decisions. I wrote a paragraph of what I wanted to talk about so I wouldn’t forget when it came time to write out the sermon. Then I chose to name the sermon “Stepping into Chaos.” Then the pandemic started and I questioned everything. I question whether or not I should change the name since now we have all been forced to step into this chaos. We all are making an unknown journey. Not just those who are graduating. It was for this exact reason I chose to keep the sermon title.
I always joke and say when I graduated I stepped into chaos and I haven’t found a way out yet. I thought that would change when I graduated from college, but if anything I stepped deeper into the chaos. However I no longer see the chaos as a bad thing. What is there to learn in the chaos? Does chaos have to equate to anxiety and fear? Do we ever really step out of this chaos?
In our scripture reading from Joshua this morning, we heard the commissioning of Joshua after the death of Moses. God called Joshua to lead the Israelites into a new land that God has set aside for them. God called Joshua into chaos. But Joshua was not left to figure the chaos on his own. God gave him some pretty clear instructions and words of advice. “I will not leave you nor forsake you; Be strong and courageous.” There is no reason to fret among the chaos because God is there alongside you and will not leave you. God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous seven times in the beginning of his call. Where does our strength and courage come from? God tells us that as well. God tells us that if we act in accordance to the law we will have success. Our strength and courage comes from the Word of God. God calls us into the chaos, walks with us through the chaos, and even provides our strength within the chaos.
The second set of scripture came from a place of Chaos. Jeremiah and his people already stepped into the chaos and were looking for a way out. The answer they received was to wait a little while longer. Seventy years longer to be exact. They are supposed to wade through the chaos for seventy more years. Y’all I took that step five years ago when I walked across that stage and thinking of sixty-five more just seems insane! But God slips in another nugget of wisdom for bracing the chaos. “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”
Our seniors this year are experiencing a whole new way of stepping into the chaos. Some may even feel as if they are being thrown into the chaos with no graduation ceremony to serve as an official mark of the start to chaos. Others are virtually taking that step without their friends physically around them. Some seniors know their plans for after high school others have no idea. The door to chaos is open and there is no other route to take. However, walking through that door is the hardest part. God is calling you into the chaos.
God knows what God is doing even when you have no idea. The chaos we have stepped into is a planned chaos. Switching your major fifteen times or making a career change later in life. Switching Schools or taking some time off. All of these are the twists and the turns God has for you leading you exactly where you are meant to be. It is important to trust God throughout these changes. Trusting God’s plan can be hard, there is no doubt, but it is so worth the struggle. Seek out people who are further along the path, people you worship with or friends you meet along the way. Share wisdom with each other. And Remember God has a future worth hoping for planned out just for you. How is that we know we are following the plans God has for us?
Call out and pray to God. Seek God with all of your heart. There you will find God. Together you will make the journey through the chaos and into the joy of knowing you are doing exactly what you were made for. So, be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed for the lord your God is with you wherever you go.
©Kay Smeal 2020