The Ebb & Flow of Peace
Peter, suddenly bold, said,
“Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come ahead.”
Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus.
But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet,
he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!”
Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand.
MATTHEW 14:24-31 (THE MESSAGE)
The story of Jesus walking on the stormy waters of the Sea of Galilee and calling Peter toward Him is one of Jesus’ best-known miracles. It is a powerful image and it represents so vividly the choice we have when we face the storms of life.
I’ve spent my fair share of time sinking beneath the storms of life. At one time I thought it was impossible to have peace in the midst of a storm. But like Peter, I’ve learned that I don’t have to succumb to the storms of life. I have learned that I can be at peace even in the midst of the most terrible storm. I can be at peace because I can safely place my hope in Jesus my savior, who is greater than any storm and He is faithful.
But I am no spiritual giant – my peace ebbs and flows. Just because I can choose to focus on Jesus does not mean I always make that choice initially. To be honest, I hate surprises. I like to be prepared. So when a storm hits and I am blindsided – it initially throws me for a loop. When the shock wave hits me – I worry – I am afraid – I get angry – then I feel guilty. I experience a whole list of peace busters. But I have learned that I don’t have to stay there and continue to sink. I can choose to change my focus from the storm to my Savior.
The Scriptures say we are going to have troubles in life (John 16:33) but they also give promises related to those troubles. So when I am sinking into despair the first thing I do is choose to remember the promises of God. I go through the mental exercise of remembering God’s promises. I recall DEUTERONOMY 31:8.
“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you.
He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
I read ISAIAH 43:1-3 so that I can be reminded that I am not alone in the storm because God promises to walk beside us through our trials.
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
The words of PHILIPPIANS 1:6 assure me that God will not abandon me and that He will continue to work in me.
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you,
will continue his work until it is finally finished
on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
And when I feel weak and vulnerable I focus my thoughts on JOHN 10:27-29 and know that nothing and no one can snatch me from His hand. He is holding me.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.
No one can snatch them away from me,
for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else.
No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.
Those promises are the first things I call to mind. They remind me of what is true about God and my relationship with Him. Next – I remember past storms and what I have experienced in my walk with God – His faithfulness to me.
As I recall the “monuments of God’s faithfulness”, I can see that some of the biggest storms of my life – storms I never would have chosen – have turned out to be the biggest blessing in my life. By focusing on these “monuments” I am reminded that any challenge that I may face – no matter how difficult or painful – it is not the end of the story.
When I start focusing on God rather than on the current storm – no matter how bad it is – an amazing peace overcomes me and I am able to walk through the storm. This does not mean my situation improves or my pain goes away. It simply means I have peace in the midst of the storm. I have peace because I have hope. I have hope because God is trustworthy. I can trust His promises. I know He will be faithful to do what He says He will do.
We are imperfect human beings. For those who call themselves Christians – learning to focus on God and give Him control is our lifelong pursuit. Peace is an overflow – a byproduct of our relationship with Him. It is available to the weakest of us in the midst of any storm. We can be assured …
The faithful love of the LORD never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”
LAMENTATIONS 3:22-24 (NLT)
On the journey with you,