The Dissonance of Chaos and A New Song of Hope

by Nov 10, 2016Courage, Cultivate, Voice10 comments

Normally, I welcome the restful quiet of my home, but lately I’ve felt tempted to crank up the music to drown out the dissonant sounds of the chaos of our nation. I think I’ve always been one to push toward peace where possible, pleading that the discord and waves be quieted. Once again, God challenges me to open my ears and heart. He wants me to hear the brokenness within the noise and confusion, but also his song of hope rising out of the shattered pieces.

Over the years I’ve listened to and written the stories of others. Not the pretty ones, but those full of heartache and pain. As the stories unfolded in their telling, I often began to hear the promising notes of beautiful courage growing stronger and louder.

What are the emotions and thoughts stirring in you as you hear the stories around you or happening within your culture today? What is difficult right now for you to hear?

With similar ears I’ve begun to listen to the stories of our current culture of unrest. More and more these tear at my soul. People seem to have forgotten how to have conversations that foster mutual listening and respect. Instead, dehumanizing words and actions are perpetuated against one another. I wonder where it will stop before we are completely destroyed as a nation. I strain to hear the hope in it all.

But can I do my small part? Quiet my own words and thoughts and discover where I can listen more or how I can reach into the dissonace? And can I begin to pick out the notes of a new song, an offering of courage and hope? 

How about you? When you quiet your soul and listen, what do you hear?
Amidst the chaos and unrest, how might you
listen with God for his notes of courage and hope?

The writer of Psalm 40 encourages us to come out of the mire of chaos to sing the new song God desires to put within us. I’ve often approached the words in this psalm in a very personal way—the slimy pit and mud and mire my own making. I won’t discard that view. It helps me prayerfully examine and discern my part in the mire and my need to call on him. But recently I took another look and saw the pit and mire as a collective one that we have sunk into as a nation and world.

The surrounding words of that psalm are graciously true for all of us as well: We wait patiently for the Lord and he turns to us and hears our cry. He will lift us out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire and set our feet on a rock, giving us a firm place to stand. And he will put a new song in our mouth, a hymn of praise to him.

What is that new song? I don’t know it yet, but for now I can listen for the few notes he is giving me to sing. 

Shh. Quiet your own mind and soul with me, my friends. Listen to your heart and to God’s. Even through the dissonance of chaos, can you hear the notes of his new song for us? 

Notes of hope, of courage, of love. Notes of creativity, vision, and healing. Notes of openness, trust, respect. Notes of peace. Do you hear them?

Hum a few notes and allow the song to grow in you until together we can join our stanzas and harmonies to sing the same song. His song.

Read through Philippians or one of Paul’s other letters.
Most of the churches Paul wrote to were living in cities full of
unrest. As you read, write down words and phrases that give you
direction in how to respond differently, words that are “notes”
for a new song God might be placing into your heart.

What are the beginning notes God is giving you specifically to sing out into the hopelessness, the restlessness, the chaos of our time? That courageous, unique stanza you can contribute as a woman in your home, organization or community? Share below your initial thoughts or the verses of your heart so that together we might begin to catch the words of his new song for our communities, nation and world.

He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.
Psalm 40:3 ESV


  1. Jane Guiremand

    Hi Jan, Thank you for this message. I have had it open for several days, read it more than once, and today have gone to mining Philippians for the notes and phrases of a new song, a symphony the book is so rich: Pure. Blameless. Confident and humble. Same love. Considering others better than myself. Whatever is lovely, whatever is right. Rejoicing. Calm and Gentle, gentle, gentle. Practice, put it into practice. Peace. Contentment. Amply supplied. Called heavenward in Christ Jesus. Love, Jane

    • Jan Kern

      Beautiful, Jane. Thank you for sharing what you mined from the book of Philippians. You discovered some great words and phrases, musical notes for the soul. They encourage my soul as well!

  2. Joy Jackson

    Thank you for your devotional. At times like these I would prefer just to ignore what is going on, but you are correct. We should be listening and praying.

    • Jan Kern

      It’s so hard, I know. It is painful to watch all of this happening and then difficult to know how to wisely step into it. So thankful that God leads as we know Him more and more deeply through prayer so that we reflect His character more clearly as we do engage. This is a part of my prayer for all of us! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your heart, Joy.

  3. Karen Foster

    Jan, you’ve just written a beautiful song for my heart! I love how you were able to look past the confusion and rumbling of this nation and hear people’s hurting hearts. I love how you encourage women to bloom and sing….wherever we’re planted…so that we can offer a glimpse of God’s love and a ray of hope for the hurting. This may be my favorite post you’ve written because it reflects more than words of wisdom. It shows Who You Are and Who You Belong To….Jesus!!

    Just because our nation has a new president-elect, doesn’t mean people’s lives are suddenly improved or their personal pain has gone away. People still need to know about the Hope that is within us. Because changing “laws” doesn’t change people’s hearts. Only Christ can save and heal a soul.

    You’ve challenged me to sing louder and more joyfully so that my circle of influence can see…..God never changes. His love is everlasting. Salvation rests in Christ alone. He’s the ruler of my heart and the reason that I breathe…and SING!

    • Jan Kern

      Karen, your comment itself is so full of hope–a song and encouragement for all of our hearts. Thank you for sharing and inspiring us with your words of joy, celebration and trust in Christ–the source of our breath and song!

  4. Ging Embre

    I was surprised last night at the amount of rage my son vented at me because of this national unrest. I had been feeling really well all day. Buoyant, stereo turned up to 50 singing David Foster songs. Really feeling I comprehend how to relate well in all circumstances. Then, out of the blue, God smiling drops this goofy phone call on me from my dearest other. Here’s a little test, let’s see how well you do. The rage directly aimed at me. This isn’t Dems against Repub, men against women, unemployed against corporate greed . . . this was my son, father of my grandchild screaming at me. It was quite a little experiment.

    Last weekend Ray Johnson at Bayside had this great clip in his sermon. It was Bob Goff walking down a dirt street somewhere in the middle east. A man, face and head covered by scarf carrying a very big machine gun was walking toward Bob, unarmed except for his cell phone. Now Bob Goff is really interested in love. Love has worked it’s way into him. Permeated him deep. So much so he lives a most outrageous unexpected wildly fun life. Bob expects joy and harmony to be the result in all circumstances. Suddenly he pulls out his cell phone and asks the guy if he can take a selfie with him. The menacing man is disarmed and stands there and let’s Bob take a picture. Somehow God through Bob touches this very human hurting man who feels he needs to carry a machine gun to get through his life.

    I want to be like that.

    Regardless of the fear, because of the fear, I know Jesus so intimately I can hear Him in the most troubling situations. That the world is “a perfectly safe place to be” as Dallas Willard says. Because I truly know God.

    • Jan Kern

      Thank you, Ginger, for sharing both your own story and Bob Goff’s. What opportunities of love-in-reponse we have! It’s here I think of one of the standout verses of Philippians: “And this is my prayer that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight” (v. 1:9). There you are walking in that “song”!

  5. Janet Ann Collins

    Amen! We need this message today.

    • Jan Kern

      Thank you, Janet!

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