Doesn’t it seem like life is getting harder? And the world a bigger and bigger mess? Marriages around us are crumbling. Some refugees we help now face the terrible blow of not getting documents. And we see people sinking into depression, trapped by hopelessness. Like the young woman in our area who just committed suicide.
Peace on earth. Good will toward men. Good news of great joy. But in times such as these we can start to wonder where is this peace? Why can’t we see or feel it?
We long to feel the peace of David. Yet his life wasn’t easy. He was a man of war, surrounded by enemies. But his secret was that he knew how to enter God’s rest. Even during turbulent times. And that’s what we need.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters, (Psalm 23:1-2).
But just how do we enter this rest?
And what advice can we offer to those whose world is crumbling around them?
In times of trouble, we tend to concentrate both on the problem we’re going through. And the solutions we’re hoping for. Which is perfectly natural.
Like the refugees we work with, who have to leave the camps. And with nowhere to go. Or the couples with marriages dissolving. The wife whose husband just walked out on her. Or the man whose wife found another man. And the family who lost their loved one through suicide.
In such times, it’s hard to see beyond the problem. Hard to see anything but the waves threatening to drown.
But we need to keep the bigger picture in mind.
Because not only will calm always follow the storm. But it’s really the storms of life that bring us into true rest. Not that our problems will always go away; they don’t. Some dreams don’t come true. Some marriages never mend. And death (this side of eternity) brings permanent separation.
But it’s in the midst of life’s storms that God comes to us.
It was during the storm that Christ appeared and had Peter step out of the boat. He could have said, “Wait Peter, your faith is too weak. Let me calm the waves first.” But he didn’t. He called Peter to step out in the midst of the storm. Right into the waves, Mark 6.
“Come,” he said, knowing full well that the waves would seem higher once Peter was out in the midst of them.
That’s what storms are like. And the Lord knows this. He sees the huge waves and boisterous wind. And that we think we’re drowning. And that’s when he asks us to step out of the boat.
Because when life’s storms submerge us, and we feel we’re going under, that’s when we need his peace to bring us through.
It’s easy to trust the Lord while enjoying tranquility. But such times don’t really cause our faith to grow. They really don’t show us the bigger picture.
Peace and calm always follow storms. And with the Lord, they can even come in the midst of the storm. Because by reaching out in faith we see what the disciples saw.
He said to them, ‘Where is your faith?’ And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, ‘Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?’ (Luke 8:25).
By faith we see who Christ is. We see that he can calm the sea, and bring good out of trouble. And in getting a glimpse of the bigger picture, we’re reminded that this life is not all. And that with our hand firmly clasped in his, he will bring us safely to the other side.
When the storms of life come, it’s only natural to worry. But that’s when we need to remember to step out of the boat!