A few years ago, I went on a cruise with my sister.
One of our ports of call was Boston, and we had a whole day to explore. At one point in the day, we found ourselves in the middle of some sort of demonstration.
People were yelling, chanting, waving signs, blaring music, banging drums. It was really loud and really chaotic, and we were looking for a way out of the crowd.
Somewhere in the middle of all this confusion, we came across a policeman with a great big German Shepherd on a leash. This massive dog was shaking and clearly terrified, so I asked the policeman about it.
He told me he was conditioning the dog to ignore all the noise and confusion, and to focus only on the voice of his master.
The only way to do this was to take the dog straight into the middle of the loudest, angriest, craziest situations and train him to tune it all out and only respond to one voice. He said he took this dog to the gun range to get him used to explosions and gunshots, he took him to carnivals where there were big crowds and blaring music, he took him to accident scenes where people were screaming and crying and sirens were wailing, he took him to public fireworks displays. And he calmly held onto this dog’s leash and made him stay right in the middle of the insanity, when clearly all this dog wanted to do was to get away and hide somewhere safe.
Sometimes God places us right in the middle of our enemies. He is conditioning us to tune out all the chaos and noise and the siren call of this world and listen only for His voice.
All that confusion, the personal attacks by the people we should be able to trust, the family situations that break our hearts and bruise our souls, the painful health issues, the financial struggles, the relationship betrayals, the life crises… if we are a child of God, we need to learn to keep our eyes on Him, and focus on Him, and draw strength, and comfort, and healing, and direction from Him.
When we find ourselves in the middle of life’s chaos and confusion… and we will… we can choose to recognize it as an opportunity to practice listening for our Master’s voice, and draw comfort from the knowledge that He loves us enough to condition us to withstand any storm.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned.” Isaiah 43:1-2 NIV