God in the chaos

By Sven-Erik Fjellström


Dear Mary,

I often wonder how it was for you to be a parent, especially in those early years that we do not know so much about. I ask myself how you managed in two crisis times of your life – when you were away from your home in Nazareth. I am thinking of Bethlehem and Jerusalem…

Clearly Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem must have been the most extraordinary moment of your life. Nowadays we focus on the moving story of a child, a Saviour, being born. But does this miss the chaos of it all? Not finding a place to stay, giving birth in a stable, a lot of unexpected visitors, some knocking at the door, others perhaps singing from heaven? No wonder the Bible says that “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart”.

We find it hard to find that tranquility in the midst of everything. We think of reflection in a quiet, even silent, space for retreat. But you seemed to manage in the midst of complete chaos.

And then again you must have been so frightened in Jerusalem 12 years later when Jesus disappeared and you thought you had lost your son. Any parent who has gone through this fear fully understands (I’d have been so frustrated with him too!). But his calm answer to you about being in his Father’s house must have given you new insight into who he was.

Your experience speaks to me about leadership today. Perhaps great insights do not come to us when we finally get some time off with space to reflect. More often they knock on or even knock down our doors in the midst of chaotic, confused, challenging times – when we are stretched beyond what we can cope with on our own…

Perhaps as a leader I should expect to learn from God more in the storms of life rather than in the peaceful, quiet times. What would you say?

Kind regards,                                                                                                                                                   Sven-Erik

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