“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).
The morning started like many; Jesus led the disciples to the shore of the Sea of Galilee, perhaps searching for a quiet place to pray. But on that morning a large crowd gathered to hear Jesus teach, with so many people pressing around that He and the disciples were forced into a boat to put some distance between them and the masses.
At the end of this long day of teaching, Jesus asked the disciples to sail to the other side. Exhausted, He fell asleep as the boat rocked upon the waves.
Suddenly a fierce wind kicked up, waves were breaking over the side of the boat. The veteran fishermen knew boats. They knew storms. But this storm was like no other. It had appeared suddenly and with such violence that their skill was insufficient. They feared for their lives.
We can empathize with the disciples as we go about our daily walk, secure in the knowledge that we have the skill to complete any task, despite obstacles that may come at us.
But there come storms so powerful that they threaten our very lives.
Some storms are private and personal.
For as long as I can remember, I have struggled to breathe. First it was called asthma, later it was COPD. So, when I started to experience a tightness in my chest and shortness of breath, I dismissed it. But when my doctor heard my complaints, she ordered a stress test, just to be on the safe side.
The heart doctor ordered a heart cath procedure, just to be safe.
Halfway through the procedure, my storm hit as the doctor asked me if I wanted open heart surgery or stents to repair my blocked heart arteries. I feared for my life.
Some storms are public and shared.
No one will ever forget the end of the 2019-2020 school year as the world faced the storm called COVID-19.
The storm hit suddenly, with little warning, as schools were ordered to close their doors. Teachers, students, and parents not only had to face a dramatic change in the educational process, but did so while many were forced to shelter in place. Others were forced to venture outside each day to provide essential services needed for life. Everyone feared for their lives, not only from a deadly disease, but from a loss of finances.
Peace! Be Still!
In their fear, the disciples called out to the sleeping Jesus, accusing Him of not caring if they lived.
Jesus spoke into their fear and into the storm, “Peace! Be still!”
The wind ceased, the waves calmed, the disciples were astonished.
In my fear I called to Jesus.
He spoke into my fear and into the storm of heart issues, “Peace! Be still!”
The stents were placed, the heart issues alleviated, I was saved.
In our fear we called to Jesus.
He spoke into our fear and into the chaos of a world pandemic, “Peace! Be still!”
The world responded, as we slowly return to safety.
We face many storms in life. The waves of despair, doubt, fear, and panic crash over the sides of our boat, threatening destruction. We cry to Jesus. He speaks and our seas are filled with calm waters.
Jesus gives us the calm waters of His protection, His love, His hope, and His assurance of eternal life.
May His calm waters always be a comfort.
REFLECTION: Who needs the hope of calm waters today?
Lord of all nations, be with us. We pray that when the storms hit, we will always look to Jesus. Let us hear the words, “Peace! Be still!” Give us the calm waters of Your protection, love, and hope. Let us always rest in You. In the name of Jesus, amen.
This devotion is an excerpt from Richard Cohrs’ new book: Calm Waters: Devotions for Lutheran Teachers available at amazon.com.
Photo courtesy of Elisa Schulz Photography