Disrupted Lives

I’m in a coffee shop as I’m writing this, and some man just got into my car outside! I had my IRS tax return payment sitting on the passenger seat. The auto-lock door hadn’t worked! So I jumped up, and as I got outside the man was already getting out.

“Sorry!” he said as he spotted me. “I have a car like yours!” He then crossed the parking lot to his own identical car. The envelope had been moved, but it was still sealed and secure.

Why mention it? I was thinking of how to start this essay when the startle occurred. And my topic is vulnerability. A good fit! We all experience disruptions. We have misfortunes, make mistakes, hear lies, experience thefts, corruption, and stupidity. Life has lots of challenges.

In sum, life is never neutral. We wish for safe homes, stable relationships, adequate resources, enough food, sound justice, fair prices, and reliable police. And much, much more. For readers who have plenty of stability, give thanks and pray for more! But experience tells us it won’t last.

Remember that the Bible doesn’t promise peace and security, even to the righteous. Ephesians 5:15-16 warns, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” In a dramatic Bible narrative the prophet Habakkuk promised evil days and warned readers, “The just shall live by faith.” In his day evil Judea was faced with even more ungodly Chaldea, an invading nation who would soon come to scour their land. God told Habakkuk what was coming and called for faith, even in the face of doom.

Bible basics here are clear: from Eden onward the world is broken. Adam unleashed satanic forces on all his offspring. So, given the constant effort of spiritual darkness to overturn God’s rule, “the days are evil.” A titanic struggle between the forces of good and evil continue to slosh back and forth across the nations. For brief periods of history we may have stability and peace, but disruptions will always come—at least until Adam’s era ends in a coming day of judgment.

Our responses must not be glib, trite, or exercises in wishful thinking. Not if Jesus leads us. The first half of the twentieth century was full of global tragedies with world wars and many millions dying. All this and more revealed the deep ambitions of the “prince of the power of the air” who rules most of humanity. Satan claimed this ruling status as he tested Jesus. Paul affirmed it too (Eph. 2:1-3), as did John (1 Jn. 5:19). The devil stirs his many captives to pursue evil aims.

But at least two truths remain. The first is that God is still in charge, despite Satan’s aims for evil. We see this in Bible narratives such as the Genesis story of Joseph; in Job’s sufferings; and in Jesus whose death on the cross is the ultimate evil. And his crucifixion and resurrection also reveal God’s ultimate victory over evil. What Satan did as evil God meant for good.

What looks like uncontrolled evil, then, is always under God’s rule—although not as events he motivates. His ultimate aims are always firm, as we read in Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.“ Yet there isn’t any prospect of security for the unrepentant.

The second truth is that God allows humans to take sides, with eternal outcomes. We are all invited to love God with all we are and have. Jesus, the Son of God, came in his own love to invite us to be part of his eternal community as the “bride of Christ.” And Psalm 2:12 tells the nations to “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” Or we can be “lovers of self” (2 Tim. 3:2).

Let’s return to experiences of disruption. Each of us have more than a few unhappy stories to tell. I lost three dear friends to COVID in the past three years. So, too, some of my friends have lost jobs. If we list disruptions there are divorces, bankruptcies, diseases, accidents, and tragic weather events we can talk about. We also have small but painful issues. I just discovered a leaking water valve in my walk-in closet that made a mess I’m still resolving. Then my insurance company surprised me by saying they have a caveat in their fine print and I’m not covered for “long-term” leaks. Again, “the days are evil.”

Yet a much greater truth is that God knows. And he loves us. And he’s fully in charge as will be made clear in a coming Day of the LORD. In the meantime, “the just shall live by faith.”

Is this a lesson we still need to learn? Our grasp of God and his love, and our confidence in Christ’s personal care for us—even in evil days—will allow us to give thanks in everything. Always. And this faith distinguishes us from those who ignore God. And also from those whose God is strictly utilitarian—treated as a divine guarantor of wealth and health. Real faith, by contrast, is ready for choppy waters and major storms.

Disrupted lives? Yes, but while it’s a curse for many, it’s an adventure in faith for others. He loves his own and is good to us no matter what.



  1. Hollie-Anne Gale

    I did that very same thing last summer —- but the car looked nothing like mine!! Mom and I were out running errands, making various stops and popping in and out of shops, and imagine the horror when I realised I’d opened a strangers car, sat down inside, and looked over — to see my mum in the car next to me!!

    I nearly wet myself laughing with horror and hilarity mingled!

    I am having a good laugh just now remembering the moment…! Oh goodness!!

    What a fantastic post Ron – disrupted, yes. Regularly. In my work we have 4 guiding values. They are the lens for seeing though so that we can best serve those around us. The last value is ‘Responding to change’. In fact, it goes on to say that we value ‘Responding to change over following a plan’. That’s because plans will inherently fall apart, time slips, failure happens – but rather than tearing our clothes and sitting in the ash pile, we commit to ‘respond to change’.

    I explain to my teams that I imagine this best by picturing my weekly diary in my hand – all well mapped out and even colour coded, but instead of holding on to it with a death grip, it’s just lightly sitting on my opened palm.

    It’s ok to grieve when things don’t go as we’d hoped or plotted, but as believers the secret sauce is in 1 Thess 5.18! Right!?!! (I thought for sure this v would feature!)
    **Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.**

  2. R N Frost

    Yes, Hollie. The impact of 1 Thess. 5:18 on my life has been huge! I’m sure I wrote a blog entry on that years ago; and I preached or taught it more than a few times. Thanks for pitching in here with your own stories and good coaching. Love it!

  3. Ken Abramson

    Great blog Ron. A broken world is an invitation to walk by faith toward the one that loves us!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *