Peace in the Storm
It is not uncommon. More common than not in these days of national turbulence, you might hear the question, “God, where are you in all of this?” Some people may argue that God is responsible because God allows it to happen. I would disagree slightly with that perspective as so often the events of our lives are caused by natural laws, such as the fires in the West and the Hurricane in the South. But then, there are the riots, looting, and other crimes, which I would suggest are the result of our societal sin.
Just because God is not responsible does not mean that God is not present or active. Jesus shares with His disciples before His death and resurrection that they would have distress (or trouble) in this world, but to be encouraged because He has conquered the world (John 16:33). Christ did not promise a life without challenges. He sought to assure us that we would have to deal with trials of sickness, tragedy, natural disasters, and yes, even malice or evil in this life.
But Jesus does promise peace, as we see in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid.” And so, the believer in Christ can walk through all that occurs around them with peace and purpose. It is not this information itself that brings us peace. However, it helps when trouble comes for us to remember that Jesus had been prophetic in His warning about this world and where peace is found. The good news for us is that our peace is not found in the external circumstances or events around us but in Christ Himself. The life that God calls us to is empowered because Jesus has overcome the world.
No one, Christian or not, avoids trouble in this life if they live very long. Storms do come. One of the most meaningful stories in the Gospels was when Jesus and His disciples got in a boat to cross over to the other side of the shore (Mark 4:35-41). As they made their way across the Sea, Jesus laid down to rest, and a storm appeared and began to rock the boat. His disciples became afraid and worried for their safety and their lives. Take note, Jesus was with them in this storm, but they seemed to believe that He did not care about them as they said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re drowning?” Jesus’ response was to still the storm and bring peace and calm to those with Him in the boat.
Yes, in the storm, Jesus was with them. The good news for us today is that God is with us. Fully present. Personally present. Actively present. As we walk through the pandemic of COVID-19, the unrest and divisions in our country, the threat of fire, wind, and rain, and own personal storms of life, I encourage us to understand that we are not alone, but that God is with us. Take a few moments to recall the great things God has done in your life, the difficult times he has brought you through, and even the miracles you have seen Him perform. Remembering what God has done in the past will encourage you to be confident that He can handle any situation you face today.
I encourage you to listen carefully to the voice of His Spirit. You may be able to hear Him declare in the midst of these storms around us, “Peace! Be still!” What people may remember the most about these current crises will be the way we responded to these storms. Take strength and hope today from the truth of Jesus’ words in John 16:33, “I’ve said these things to you so that you will have peace in me. In the world, you have distress. But be encouraged! I have conquered the world.”