Do you ever find that there are words that seep into your mind or your heart and play themselves over and over again? It happens to me from time to time and, more specifically, it happened last week again.
‘Peace. Be still’
Three simple words, but what a command. The context was an actual meteorological storm but, not all storms can be shown on a weather map.
Maybe the storm is one you knew was coming, one you saw building or had some prior warning of.
Or, maybe the storm was unexpected. It came out of the blue with no prior warning at all and it’s left you stunned and reeling in its wake.
Or, maybe this storm has been ongoing. It’s been rumbling on for a while now. You’re aware of it all the time, but sometimes it’s more controllable, while at others, it seems to take control of you.
Whatever the nature or duration of the storm, one thing is for sure: you feel powerless when it hits, you’re out of your depth and, quite frankly, you’re scared and confused.
At some point or other we all face storms. They might be physical storms that others can see or mental ones that only we can feel. But, regardless of how they may appear in our lives, we have a choice to make.
It’s results season and that means that in the opening of an envelope you will either get: A) news that you wanted B) news that you didn’t want C) news that confuses you. In the time that it takes you to scan down a piece of paper, you may feel that a storm has swept over you and you don’t know which way to turn.
When the disciples were in the boat with Jesus, despite their knowledge of both His presence with them and His power, they were terrified. In hindsight, I’m sure they wondered why on earth they’d reacted the way they had when they knew what Jesus was capable of, but then hindsight is a wonderful thing, as they say. Because, with hindsight we can look back on what has happened and we can see beyond the eye of the storm; we see the ‘here’s what happened next’ and the fact that we’re seeing this, shows us that we’ve survived.
The storm clearly terrified the disciples and it shook their faith, but they shared their fears with each other and then they did the only thing that seemed to make sense for them in that moment: they called out to Jesus. His response? He took control and He told the wind and the waves to calm down.
‘Peace. Be still.’
We may not be on a boat right now, tossed about on waves. But we may feel caught up in a very different but very turbulent storm and, those storms are very personal and very real and very, very unsettling. Those storms can leave you feeling totally adrift from what you want life to be, but the One who responded to the disciples’ cry, the One who took control and made calm the raging sea, can do the same for you.
The disciples had been with Jesus and had witnessed first hand what He had done, yet, even they marvelled that ‘the wind and the waves obey Him’.
Whatever storm you may be facing right now, don’t lose hope. The One who calmed the storm for the disciples is ‘the same yesterday, today and forever.’ And what’s better? ‘He neither slumbers nor sleeps’.
We are instructed to ‘Cast all’ our cares, our worries, our disappointments on Him because ‘He cares for you.’
Psalm 91 reminds us how He will shelter us, uphold us and protect us. And, on top of all this, He will take control of the storm. We are instructed repeatedly: ‘do not fear’. It doesn’t mean we won’t, but it does mean we aren’t left to face the storm alone. All we have to do is ask. A life belt would be of no use if the struggling one who needed it didn’t grab hold of it, if it were offered.
I don’t know your personal circumstances, the storm you are caught up in. Maybe not another person on this earth does, but there’s a lesson to be learned from the disciples’ experience: share what you’re going through with someone who will listen and, turn to the One who, if He has the power to calm the raging seas, can calm the storm in you.
The old hymn says:
‘Fear thou not for I’ll be with thee,
I will still thy pilot be,
Never mind the tossing billows,
Take My hand and trust in Me.’
Whatever your storm, don’t try to go through it on your own. Reach out; know that you don’t have to be alone and trust the One who calmed the wind and waves. In the midst of your struggle, may you hear His whisper and feel within your heart the power of His command.
‘Peace. Be still.’