I’ve renamed the dogs. Let me introduce them. Annoyance is on the left. Bedlam is front and center and Chaos is on the right. They had tested me throughout the day yesterday, and it culminated this morning – about 4am. The older dog (Blackie, aka “Jackie”) usually sleeps on the floor at the foot of our bed. I suppose he wasn’t feeling well, since I was awakened to the sounds of him throwing up on my pillow – right next to my head. That was quite disgusting. It was annoying enough to be awakened – not to mention the need that followed to get out of bed to change the pillowcase. Thus his new nickname, Annoyance
We also have our puppy, Denver, who is …well – a puppy. I named him Bedlam. Then there is Brady. This week we are dog-sitting Brady, our son’s dog, while our son and his family are out of town. He is a loveable dog, who has high energy and also really loves the water. Yesterday I had decided to let the dogs out before I needed to leave for an appointment. That’s when Bedlam and Chaos took over. Brady (Chaos) headed to the creek beside our house to take a little dip, and Denver (Bedlam) went the other direction toward a swamp. Denver thought it would be fun, instead of coming to my call, to grab hold of a large stick and run the other way toward the field where some gentlemen were playing Ultimate Frisbee during their lunch hour. Finally, both dogs returned – covered in dark mud. I was not amused. Thirty minutes later, after giving the puppy a bath and watching my husband hose down Brady, I rushed with breakneck speed and high anxiety to get to my appointment.
Annoyance, bedlam and chaos are not planned. They just happen, usually at the most inopportune times. They may be, as mine were, covered with fur. Or, they may come in the form of a flat tire, a flooded basement, a baby’s poopy diaper, a child’s tantrum, a lost shoe, a snowstorm, or even just a “bad hair day”. But come they will. Bedlam breaks loose, chaos erupts and annoyances happen in what seems the mere blink of an eye. They distract us from our purpose and plans, and tempt us with frustration, anger and anxiety.
I’ve learned that I can’t change them, or in most cases avoid them – so I must decide how to respond to them. I’m constantly amazed and inspired by how Jesus dealt with annoyances, bedlam and chaos. He remained calm and purposeful, even amidst it all. Look at one day in the life of Jesus. Mark 1:21-38
They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach.  The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.  Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out,  “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”
 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!”  The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.
 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching–and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.”  News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.
 As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew.  Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her.  So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.
 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed.  The whole town gathered at the door,  and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.
 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.  Simon and his companions went to look for him,  and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”
 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else–to the nearby villages–so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”
In this one day in the life of Jesus his sermon was interrupted by a crazy man, his friend’s mother in law (who was the hostess of the house where he was visiting) was very ill (so he healed her); and many sick and demon possessed clamored to him to be healed. He was offered no privacy. I stand amazed and inspired.
Several things stand out to me as Jesus met with bedlam, chaos and annoyances. He got away to pray; he was always filled with compassion amidst the chaos, bedlam and annoyances; his heart was always to give; and he did not let himself get distracted from his purpose of telling people how to have a relationship with God. Because of his compassion and focus, I now have the hope of heaven.
May I today, get past the ABC’s of annoyance, bedlam and chaos by learning from Jesus – and take time to pray; view others through eyes of compassion; decide to be a giver, and show people Jesus – enabling them to have a relationship with God and one day be in heaven.