Almost every nursery rhyme has a true story behind it. Humpty Dumpty was actually King Richard III, and the famous farmer’s wife from the Three Blind Mice was supposedly Queen Mary I. Baa Baa Black Sheep was about taxation, and The Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe was referring to the British Empire trying to control its colonies. I remember writing about Rub A Dub Dub about 8 years ago. I later found out the story behind that rhyme and guess I’ll not be able to use that one again for a newsletter. Stories, well, some people think that’s what the Gospel is, fiction based on some tale handed down from ages ago. Given all that’s going on in the country, in the world, or just in our little circle of life, we had better hope with all our hearts there is something in our ‘story’ that’s real and practical for your daily journey. From most everything I’m seeing, looks like many people are facing tough times, most very stressful situations. I’ve only found one thing that overcomes those things: Christ Jesus. I guess I couldn’t come up with a more complicated answer, but really can’t offer a simpler one either. I’ve written a lot lately about trusting, about Faith, and the consistency of Hope in our beliefs. Seems to me we are all in a bit of rough water right now and, while it’s always been turbulent waters for each generation, as far as I can tell ours is ‘foot peddled’ to the max. Books, experts, and leaders struggle to find much more than that to define the ‘bottom line’ about the world condition to us.
I write a lot about Mark 4, the disciples are in a boat, crossing to the other side, when a violent storm begins to blow. It was not just rough seas; it was a killer storm. The disciples feared for their lives. They panicked, cried out just like we would do, I suppose. Waking a sleeping Jesus, they asked, ‘don’t you care that we are perishing?’ That ‘don’t you care’ is pretty telling of their mindset; we might be guilty of saying that ourselves in times like those. ‘Don’t you care?’ asked of the One that made them, called them, was a companion to them, is kind of a weak question when you think about who was addressed. In other words, Jesus ‘do something about this, don’t you understand!’ Jesus simply rebuked the storm and enforced Peace. But, not to miss a teaching moment, Jesus asked, ‘Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no Faith?’ That same Jesus has promised to be in our boat as well, he’s with us, calming our hearts and eventually the storm, but we are still in the boat. I write about the Peace of God a bunch and all my days seem to be punctuated with the realization of His Love and companionship, but I just haven’t found anything more necessary or perhaps more important than the confidence and the comfort that comes from knowing God is with us, in us, a part of our daily experience and stays with us no matter what we are going through. Not talking a ‘good stick’ here- just have found that the embracing comfort that comes from knowing God is with us has become the most valuable of all I know about Christ.
Be careful (anxious) for nothing (literally, not once); but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the Peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 4:6)
The only reason that Jesus could release Peace was because Peace was a place he stayed. Peace is a place we can abide in and a place where He is. Jesus was always aware that where God is present, Peace is present. When we can’t seem to find our own peace, we’re in a place for finding God’s Peace, discovering He is enough, He has enough and is eager to dispense Calm to all. There’s no fear in Heaven simply because He’s there. Peace is not the absence of something; it’s the presence of Someone! Actually, the Peace of Heaven overpowers the presence of something stressful in our lives! The only thing the disciples needed to know as they entered the boat was that Jesus had told them to ‘go to the other side.’ Just knowing that, knowing that God’s will was for them to go across to the other side of the lake should have been enough for them to ignore or command the storm. Rough does not have to be rough if God is with us. It may be rough emotionally, but not too rough for us to receive the comfort of God and bring the Peace greater than our own understanding.
Through our Faith in Christ and in the ability that’s been given to us to hear the voice of God, we will get to the place we are to go, no matter what happens in between the going and the arriving. Had the storm caused the disciples to turn, the will of God for them to find their destination would not have happened. We foremost need to be patient and trusting, we will make it through the storm, cross the sea in our lives and get to the place we have been told to go. Once Peace was established through Jesus, once the fear passed, they were no longer hindered by their environment. We all need a little dose of not letting our environment determine our lives; Peter sank when he turned his attention from walking toward Jesus, instead turning his attention to the water. Each of us that have been made alive unto God has been sent to live in Peace, enjoy the freedom of having been set free by the Gospel’s Good News. On this journey we may occasionally pay a price in our emotions and flesh, but He has told us not to grow weary, not to be afraid. Being Spiritual offers the opportunity to overpower, to calm, the carnal.
Enter the promise of His Hope and Peace even though there are giants in the land. Quit roaming around the desert of fear and go ahead and enter into the Sabbath of His Faith. Not talking being overly aggressive by trying to change everything, I’m talking about settling down and finding the Rest in Him. Depend upon His promises of Grace and Companionship and know that He is Good. I’m going to go one step further. Until you have learned to praise him in the storm we have only experienced half the benefits of knowing Him. Praising Him in the good times is easy and fulfilling for the moment. Knowing Him and praising Him in the storms, praising Him all the time with thanksgiving brings us another half of knowing God. To know Him only when things are going great is a terrific blessing; knowing Him in both the good and the bad is to understand the true compassion of God and His willingness to be with us always, and ‘don’t you care’ is removed from our vocabulary and conversations with God.