“He rose and rebuked the wind, and he said to the sea Peace, be still: and the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” (Mark 4:39)
Peace – something we all want, but sadly, seems to allude many of us. Perhaps the problem is that we just do not know how to experience it. The account of Christ calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee may help us understand peace a little better. Jesus and his disciples were in a boat. At some point, a furious squall came up on the lake, which is normal for the Sea of Galilee. While the disciples trembled with fear, Jesus was sound asleep in the back of the boat. The disciples woke him and asked if he even cared that they were sinking. Following their accusation, Jesus got up, rebuked the wind and said to the storm, “peace, be still.” At that point, the wind died down and complete calm prevailed. One word from Christ, and the elements instantly obeyed. The disciples? Not so much, for Christ had to rebuke them for their fear. Why did the sea instantly exhibit peace and the disciples did not? Good question!
Jesus has told us, “my peace I give you…..Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” These words are as clear a command for calmness in our lives, as his command for the sea to be at peace. Yet the sea heeded his command and became calm – we, many times, do not. In spite of knowing we have Christ’s peace, why is it that we still live with so much fear and anxiety? I mean, if a body of water can calm down – why can’t we?
When faced with circumstances that cause us consternation and uneasiness, we have a couple of options. The first option is to tell ourselves we are not anxious or afraid. Then, we try to convince ourselves that we’re trusting God when in reality we aren’t. We think doing this will ease our tormented emotions. Second, we can wallow in our fear and anxiety, because it has become the norm for us. We have found it to be a crutch in our life. Fear and anxiety have brought us sympathy and attention, and we feel comfortable with that. If we stop worrying and feeling anxious, that is an unfamiliar place, and we are not sure we can handle that place. Or third, we can do exactly what the disciples did on the little boat. They ran to where they knew they could connect with Christ. In their case, it was in the back of the boat. In our case, it is on our knees before him. We can go to the One who can give us what we need most – an assurance of peace. Even if we don’t feel that peace immediately, it is important we stay connected with Christ until we do. May I also suggest that once we place our need for peace at the feet of Christ, we should find something constructive to do to keep us busy. Sitting around thinking about our situation, feeds more fear.
Once the raging storm was gone, the disciples asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” THAT is the question we must ask ourselves in the midst of life’s storms – Who is Jesus? – Can he really take away my fear and give me real peace? How we answer that question will make the difference whether we have peace or not.