I forgot to use God’s amazing gift of choice yesterday when I allowed myself to fret and complain. I focused on the ‘what could be,’ on ‘what I’m missing right now,’ on the noise of the conflict that is raging across our land. There is no denying that there are plenty of reasons for anxious thoughts. While there may be very little I personally can do to change national policies, to restore economic fortunes, or to address long standing racial issues, I can live as a man of the Spirit who brings God’s grace, His wonderful peace, into the corner of the world where I live WHEN I remember to Whom I belong.
Let’s go to the Gospel and read a story that Luke was inspired to record for us. It is about a stormy experience that shook up Jesus’ disciples and gave them revelation.
“One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and started out. On the way across, Jesus lay down for a nap, and while he was sleeping the wind began to rise. A fierce storm developed that threatened to swamp them, and they were in real danger. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”
So Jesus rebuked the wind and the raging waves. The storm stopped and all was calm! Then he asked them, “Where is your faith?” And they were filled with awe and amazement. They said to one another, “Who is this man, that even the winds and waves obey him?” (Luke 8:22-25, NLT)
Mark, who heard the story from Peter, adds this detail. When Jesus spoke to the storm, He said “Peace, be still!” Let’s not over analyze the passage so as to lose the impact. It is there for one primary reason: to show us the power of Jesus. This same Jesus is my Lord. Is He yours? We can trust His power for our stormy time or we can be like the disciples in their panic. “We’re going to drown!” they screamed as they awakened the Master. Mark tells us that Jesus challenged that panicky response. “Why are you so afraid? Don’t you have any faith?” When I read His words they were addressed to me in 2020! “Jerry, why are you so afraid? Don’t you have any faith?”
Note that Jesus did not tell them that the storm was merely imaginary, nor did He tell them that their concern was baseless. He showed them that He is greater than storms.
I invited Him to speak to my stormy soul, to our tempest-tossed nation, to those restless angry crowds of people who are spilling into the streets of our cities. Jesus, speak peace! It is not for us to tell Him what to do nor can we predict how He will care for us, but we are assured that HE is present and active. Will you choose to trust? Oh, for grace to trust Him when the winds are blowing with hurricane force. You are not a terrible or faithless Christian if the tempest has temporarily caused you to lose your assurance of His care.
I remind you, as He reminds me, we are not helpless victims! We can choose to meditate in His Word. We can take passages of promise and focus our thoughts. The Psalm shows us how. “I watch for your ancient landmark words, and know I’m on the right track. … I set your instructions to music and sing them as I walk this pilgrim way. I meditate on your name all night, God, treasuring your revelation, O God.” (Psalm 119:52-55, The Message)
Has anxiety filled your mind? Is fear the pre-dominant emotion of the day? Are you letting anger cloud your reason? Make the choice to trust the LORD of the storm.
The word from the Word will help us to stay centered in God’s sustaining Presence. “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” (Isaiah 43:1-3, NIV) Focus today on those three words – “You are Mine!”
‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His word.
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know thus saith the Lord.
I’m so glad I learned to trust You
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend
And I know that Thou are with me
Will be with me to the End.
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him,
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus;
O for grace to trust Him more!