Peace. Be Still.

Hurricane Dorian approaches the U.S.

This past Sunday, we read a story about Jesus from the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 8. In the passage, Jesus is on a boat crossing the Sea of Galilee with his disciples when a storm blows in. The waves are so great that they are swamping over the sides of the fishing boat. As the disciples begin to panic, they see Jesus – asleep! In their fear, they wake their master up and ask him to save them.

Jesus chastises the disciples for their lack of faith, and then he says to the storm, “Peace! Be still!” (we read these specific words in the fourth chapter of Mark’s Gospel). At once, the wind dies down and it is completely calm.

As Hurricane Dorian turns toward the north and begins to track towards the Carolinas, we find ourselves in the bullseye of our second hurricane in a year’s time. But I look around at my friends and family and I see many of them in the midst other storms of life… three recent widows have lost their anchors to the storm of death; a woman is treading water as she deals with recurring consequences of a surgery from years ago; another is sailing through the storm of unemployment while looking out for changing reefs and shoals; more than one are navigating the choppy waters of finances that threaten to swamp them; loneliness and isolation batters against some like a deafeningly silent thunderclap…

Most physical storms in life will pass by quickly – sometimes leaving deep marks like last year’s Hurricane Florence, but often causing a few days of anxiety and excitement before blowing through and blowing out. Life storms rarely dispel so quickly.

Is it possible that, when these storms are at their fiercest, Jesus’s words of “Peace! Be still!” might be directed at us, rather than at the storm? If we know that He is in control, and that He loves us, then shouldn’t we feel at peace even during the storms? Surely it is better to walk through the storms of life with Jesus rather than avoid the storms without Him? And can we actually avoid the storms of life, anyway? Usually we can not.

As Dorian approaches… and as we walk through our own personal crises and storms of life… we would do well to remember Jesus’s words. Peace. Be still.

Jesus said it to the storm. He also says it to you and to me.

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