Toys in a bathtub

Wednesday

Psalm 104

File:Pieter Mulier (II) - Storm at Sea - WGA16315.jpg

Pieter Mulier II, Storm at Sea, 17th century

26There the ships go to and fro,
and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.

Leviathan is not just the great sea monster of Moby Dick fame. Leviathan is the mythological serpent from whose slain body – so said the Babylonians – the world was made. It is the chaos monster. The god of the roaring seas, relentless, changing, destroying, able to rise up in a moment and swallow a ship and all her cargo. Chaos. Chaos that afflicts societies. Chaos that afflicts the human heart. Warring emotions. Warring thoughts. Warring, unregulated, ungoverned. Wild. Dangerous. Fearful. Uncontrolled.

He is God’s plaything. A kitten in God’s home. A frolicking creature in God’s ocean.

He is God’s plaything. For all our fear of the uncontrolled – Leviathan is God’s plaything. Like a child with toys in a bathtub.

All that we fear. All that threatens to devour us. All the chaos that could rip life apart. They are shadows on the wall. The creaking of an old house in the wind. Playthings in God’s garden.

I know the terror of these. I know the terror of the sudden and unforeseen that suddenly shatters life. I have buried a brother. I have buried a daughter. 19. Traveling with friends to volunteer in an inner city grade school. Struck down on a curve by a driver who had been drinking. If they hadn’t turned the wrong way out of the gas station 20 minutes before, they would not have been on the road at that moment. Had they not forgotten their CD player and turned back, they would have been safe in bed at Sally’s home. But they were still on the road when Brandon came around the curve on the wrong side of the freeway, appearing suddenly, as the semi in front of them lurched away into the right lane. And there they were. And there was Brandon. 80 mph. No time. Chance. Chaos. Death and sorrow.

But the chaos monster is no monster, just a plaything in God’s bathtub.

A monster to me. But not to the voice that called the stars into being. A monster to me, but not to the voice that brought forth life on this barren rock. A monster to me, but not to the Lord of all time. A monster to me, but a plaything to God. Not that God doesn’t know the sorrow. Just that God knows the end of the play. There is a song at the end. Like Les Mis, all the characters are back on stage singing the song that has no end.

Chaos, grief, sorrow, evil, real human evil, tragedy, all that is unexpected from our point of view, they are as playthings before the Almighty. They will not reign. They will not endure. Compared to the majesty of love these are no great evil. Compared to the majesty of life, of grace, of truth: a plaything, no more.

26There the ships go to and fro,
and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.

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