The news reports of the typhoon in Tacloban, Philippines have left most of us speechless. Just when we thought we had seen the worst in a hurricane like Katrina or the 2011 Japan tsunami, a new wave of terror and destruction strikes and we realize just how small and helpless we humans really are on this planet. I have never personally experienced the utter chaos and destruction of a catastrophic event such as this week’s typhoon. Yet even the news updates and pictures leave me weak at the knees to imagine living through such a nightmare.
While our world has faced great disasters such as these in the past, one cannot deny that the financial crises, political divisiveness, natural disasters, and the exponential growth of sin’s habits and its consequences today continue to pummel any possible sense of peace and stability. That which has been considered morally right for centuries is being rejected while previously unacceptable behaviors are being lifted up. No matter how you diagnose the current situation, there is no doubt this world is in a topsy-turvy state of mind.
So, is anyone in charge? Asaph, a psalm writer, makes it clear who is in charge, giving us this explanation: “We thank you, God, we thank you – your Name is our favorite word; your mighty works are all we talk about. You say, ‘I’m calling this meeting to order. I’m ready to set things right. When the earth goes topsy-turvy and nobody knows which end is up, I nail it all down; I put everything in place again’.” (Ps. 75, the MSG)
In these verses Asaph writes what God says. No question is raised here over who is in charge. God’s voice rises above the chaos, strong and clear, “I’m calling this meeting to order.” He’s had enough of evil seeming triumphant and righteousness being trampled. God turns things right side up, nails everything down, and puts it all in its proper place again. No more topsy-turvy. And no one stands in his way. What hope this gives us for the future!
The other voice in these verses belongs to God’s people. Theirs are voices filled with praise, saying “Thank you, thank you, thank you, God.” What else are they talking about? God’s name and God’s mighty works. What would happen in my heart and yours if we started talking less about how bad things are and started talking more about how good God is? I have no doubt my attitude would change, with my heart tuned to hear God’s voice more clearly over the chaos.
As we approach this time of Thanksgiving, perhaps it is not too early to consider whose voice we are listening to the most. Equally as important would be an evaluation of what our voices are saying to others. This year my prayer is to hear God’s voice above all else, to recognize that He is most certainly in charge, and to speak out His name and mighty works above all else. Will you join me?