Order out of chaos is the primal impulse of the human psyche – like an undeniable subtext, constantly at work in our daily interpretation, measuring in real-time our experience of meaning and purpose. This is why when we experience unexpected circumstances recklessly pulling us downstream from our normal life, our eyes instinctively look for a safe shore — a place we might step out of the troubled waters and walk on solid ground again. And if those circumstances are grave enough, cratering like a dark hole of despair in the middle of your life — that unspoken subtext becomes the primary text of your thoughts . . . as you now begin to wonder out loud — how much more of this will you have to endure?
So when we hear David cry out “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?”(Psalm 13:1) – we can hear our own weary voice, and know well that feeling of the gathering dark beginning to fill our hearts . . . and that winter’s fog of isolation and loneliness that refuses to lift. In moments like these, meaning and purpose seem to be hanging by a thread – so we wait in silence, waiting in desperate faith, believing that the presence of God will break through the fog of our doubt and pain . . . and lead us back into the light of his steadfast love.
In this way, our longing to have our lives renewed and restored is actually a longing for the presence of God. Because when the inevitable chaos of the world crashes into our life, we intuitively know that it is God who brings order to our world, so we call out to him to be reassured that he has not left us. This is such a primal reflex that even the atheist finds himself calling out for God when he’s desperate enough, when the hope of rescue is fleeting. So for the Christian, how much more does our hope reside in God’s presence?
How much more, indeed! If we as imperfect parents can give our children loving provision, then how much more will our heavenly Father provide? (Luke 11:11-13) And if even the birds are feed by the hand of God, and the lilies of the field are dressed in grand splendor, how much more does our Father know our every need? (Luke 12:24-28) How much more valuable are we to Him? (Matthew 12:12) Are these not the practical expressions of love, indicative of a God who holds chaos at bay? So we place our hope in God for all things are held together . . . in His presence.
This is why it is the very heartbeat expectation of Advent to cry out “O, come Emmanuel” – compelled to beseech God to come and be with us. Because it’s the Incarnation that is the very culmination of our primal desire to have God’s presence make all things right again. For we worship a God who hears our cry, and knows our every need. A God who chooses to enter into this life so that he might abolish the power of death. How much more could we ask of God, than he give us his only begotten son?
O Come, O Come . . .