It was You who drove back the sea with Your might, who smashed the heads of the monsters in the waters. (74:13)

In the first Genesis creation story, the universe at the first moment of creation was tohu vavohu, unformed chaos. The enterprise of creation consists of taming or beating back or organizing the chaos. Anything that behaves in unpredictable or dangerous ways, such as a large body of water or a wild sea creature, is a remnant of the unrestrained chaos.

We know from our attempts to clean a house with children or organize our workflow at our job that factors beyond our control (children messing up as we’re cleaning, for example) constantly introduce chaos back into the system. In physics, this is known as entropy, the natural tendency of things to decline into disorder.

No matter how carefully we might plan our day, a customer whose order gets lost by the delivery service, a coworker who doesn’t do his part of the presentation, a supervisor who scheduled a meeting and forgot to send us the notice, reintroduces chaos into a system that we thought had been thoroughly organized.

It is worth remembering that although God drove back the chaos, or perhaps more properly stated organized the chaos, to create the universe, that there is still chaos left in our world. So when we find ourselves in the midst of suffering or disorder, we might remember that it is our opportunity to join with God in driving back the sea of chaos and smashing the monsters of suffering.

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