Life has a way of throwing undesirable events into our lives. If a person suffers an emotionally traumatic event, they will suffer intrusive and painful thoughts about the event until they are able to accommodate for what happened. In other words, they are able to make some kind of meaning out of the meaningless occurrence. Unfortunately, some people are never able to make meaning out of some of the tragedies of their lives. Even though years have passed, they still experience distress from their painful memories. Often those traumatic events play in the brain like a looped video. For others, these intrusive memories work with a domino effect and trigger other feelings of loss or shame. For some, these memories may be so overwhelming that they cause self-destructive acts. We need help to be able to accommodate these bad memories. I have good news and that is that God who made the brain and knows how it works and how it gets messed up can help us make meaning out of chaos.
Here is a word picture to help imagine the transformation that God can bring to our lives. I live only a few miles from the grand Mississippi River. In the mid 1800’s steamboats traveled all the way from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Kansas City, Missouri and beyond to South Dakota by means of the connecting rivers. On September 5, 1856 the Arabian steamboat, that had traveled the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers for several years, hit a submerged tree stump and sunk near Kansas City. The Missouri was notorious for these kinds of dangers. All the passengers survived, but the boat was a total loss. That is until 131 years later when Bob Hawley and his sons found the steamboat ½ mile from the river. It was buried under 45 feet of topsoil. Through elaborate efforts it was raised with most of its cargo still intact. Today it is a fascinating museum to see what was rescued and lost for so long. This is a picture of what it means to accommodate and make meaning out of the tragedies of our lives. They may be buried under years of hurt and resentment, but with the right help they can be resurrected and accommodated to have meaning. No longer do they just represent tragedy and loss. Instead you are able to see something of value. Now you are not afraid to talk about what happened because it makes sense. Out of the tragic events of the past God gives you treasures to share with others. Through the miracle of grace and forgiveness, God truly makes meaning out of our chaos.