Peace! Be still!

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:35-38 ESV)

The disciples had been with Jesus. They had heard him teach, seen him heal, seen him cast out demons. And that same Jesus who did all these things was right there in the boat with them. Yet when a storm arose, they panicked. They were gripped by fear. They thought Jesus didn’t care about them.

Aren’t we sometimes just like the disciples in that boat?

We walk with Jesus, talk with Jesus, we see him at work in our lives but, as soon as the storms begin to blow, we start to panic, we start to worry. We allow ourselves to give in to fear, anxiety, worry, and from that place of fear, from the place of anxiety or worry, we ask, “Jesus, don’t you see what I’m going through? Don’t you see the storms that are threatening to drown me? Don’t you care that my life is falling apart?”

Have you ever been there?

Let’s look at what happened when the disciples cried out to Jesus:

And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. (Mark 4:39 ESV)

Peace! Be still! Was Jesus talking to the storm? Or were these words also directed to the disciples? Was he just calming the wind and the waves, or was he also quieting the storm that was filling the hearts and minds of the disciples? Was he basically telling them, “I’m here with you and I give you my peace but, to experience it, to really know the peace that I give, you need to silence your fear and stop worrying. You need to be still, you need to stop striving and you need to trust in me.”

In Isaiah 26:3, the prophet Isaiah wrote:

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3 NLT)

In Philippians 4:6-7, the apostle Paul wrote:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT)

When we are in the midst of a storm, when fear, anxiety, and worry begin to work their way into our minds, making us start to wonder if Jesus is there, if he really cares about what we are going through, we need fix our thoughts on Jesus, we need to put our trust in him. Rather than striving, rather than giving in to the fear and anxiety, we need to pray. And when we do, we allow the peace of God – shalom, shalom – perfect peace, to calm the storm we are facing. The peace that comes from God is a peace we can’t explain. It’s a peace that exceeds our understanding. 

In 2019, my wife, Linda and I faced a storm in our lives when she received a cancer diagnosis. The first thing that I felt when she told be about the diagnosis was numbness. My best friend in the world, the person I share life with, had cancer. But the next thing that I felt was peace. Linda felt it too. But if you had asked us why we felt peace, we could not have explained it. From a worldly perspective, it made no sense. But that’s God’s peace, a peace that goes far beyond our ability to understand.

It’s a peace that the world can’t give us. And it’s a peace that will guard our hearts and our minds as we live in Christ Jesus. Peace! Be still!

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188, USA. All rights reserved.

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