He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ – Mark 4:39-40
I began long ago working out understanding what peace means to me. If I don’t understand what a storm is, I cannot know what peace is. It is unlikely in this busy world that we are unaware of the storms in our lives. It seem that the boat we call life gets extremely full of the waters of life and the stormy winds sure rock us around way too much.
I believe God uses the storms of our lives to help us be more like Christ. Just think of the challenges of each day of the few years of ministry that Jesus was forced to face. He faced them with the grace and love beyond any imagination. The compassion and love that shows through all the encounters of this short time on earth is due to the fact he was the personification of unconditional love; something which most of us lack, the unconditional part for certain.
The storms in our life are not always quickly ended but Christ is beside us empowering us to weather them through to victory. When we think of all the challenges and issues that we take to God in prayers, we begin with a short thankfulness and a long list of helps. Not that that isn’t expected, but just as we are asking for help through the challenging times, God may be trying to tell us we have what we need to work through them. We are empowered.
Jesus wanted to take His disciples through a transition by sharing with them the opportunity to get to the other side. That other side of the journey represents our God-given destinies. Jesus was using this as an example of the many plans and purposes God has for our lives. Sometimes we can get in the boat and can never figure out where it is we need to go. We fail to enjoy the ride and we certainly seem to wait for the Captain to show us the anchor to realize we have the power to make port and drop anchor. We seem to prefer to toss about thinking that Jesus is just sleeping and will wake up some day and take care of it all.
A good question to ask of our boat ride, “was Jesus invited on the boat?” When the storms and adversity in life become an issue, do you handle these things? Do we decide we can face the storms of life until they become unpleasant and too complicated, and then call on Christ to get us out of the storm rather than asking from the beginning for God to help make the storm shorter and calmer?
What our response is to the storms in life is important. God expects us to exercise faith and claim the peace offered to lead us through them. Bailing is a temporary fix but surely gets tiring. We often take care of a couple of the issues and five more seem to come up. Just like the two buckets of water out and the five coming in, we cannot keep our boat afloat under those conditions.
There is peace available in the trials of life no matter what the circumstances. Difficult as it may first appear, there are lessons to learn each day. In our humanity, we seldom recognize the importance until the waters have subsided. Remember even though Jesus was with them the storm still came. None of us are immune to the storms.
Our lives are journeys that begin with understanding faith. Faith is a gift from God. Faith’s foundation is based on trusting Jesus. It is an attitude of the heart. Faith is our saving grace. It is more than just faith that the apostles had while Jesus was on earth. They were blessed and graced with His presence and teachings. They had Christ with them to help them find the path of faith and grace. With Christ so available and humane, it was difficult to recognize the necessity and value of Jesus death. It was a challenge for the world to realize the power of his resurrection.
Storms help us to grow in our faith. Faith recognizes the death of Jesus on the cross, and that Jesus’ death was the only way of saving humanity from death. Through faith Jesus restores us all to life beyond what we know on earth.
When Jesus said to his disciples, “Why are you so fearful?” he asks the same of us. It a good question to ask ourselves along with questioning why we are so fearful if we have the faith that comes with the belief in the Salvation that came thru the crucifixion. We are impatient people. We are sure He is going to work everything out but we often feel God is not working fast enough so we take control.
So how much faith do we have? I mean what faith we had. Have we lost it? If we have no faith then we cannot have hope. Without hope there can be no peace. Where there is no peace, there is little for us to hold on to. So can we learn and give God the opportunity to do it God’s way or must we keep trying to do it our way?
Ordained in August 2006, Rev. Suzie Chamness served as Senior Pastor of Spirit of Life MCC of New Port Richey, Fla., beginning in 2009, having served as volunteer clergy for the congregational care ministry at King of Peace MCC and as chaplain at Bon Secours Maria Manor senior care facility, both in St. Petersburg, Fla. In June 2006 she earned a masters of divinity degree from the Florida Center for Theological Studies in Miami, followed by a doctorate in ministry from Andersonville Theological Seminary.