Till the Storm Passes By

Song: Peace, Peace Wonderful Peace

Far away in the depths of my spirit tonight
Rolls a melody sweeter than psalm;
In celestial-like strains it unceasingly falls
O’er my soul like an infinite calm.

  • Refrain:
    Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
    Coming down from the Father above!
    Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
    In fathomless billows of love!

There are two storms I think of in the Bible that help me to put life’s difficulties into perspective. First, I am reminded of the storm in which Jonah found himself. You remember the story.  Jonah was a prophet of God, but he had received only one word from God, and it had been a long time ago. When God finally spoke to Jonah again, giving him the mission to take the word of repentance to the Ninevites, Jonah was not happy. Who would want to save the Ninevites? They were horrible people. Yet, because Jonah knew if he took God’s word to them, they would receive it and be saved, he ran.

Jonah ran down to Joppa where he found a boat and ran and hid in the bottom of the boat. But you can’t hide from God. A storm came, and the sailors realized this was a storm of supernatural origin. So, they ran down to the hold of the boat, woke Jonah up, and said, Please, pray to your God to stop this storm so that we might be saved.  At Jonah’s instruction, the men threw him into the waters and the storm immediately stopped.

Then there was the storm in Matthew 8:23-26 (NRSV)

23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 A windstorm arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” 26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm.

This is the word of God for the people of God.

Thanks be to God.

 Let us pray: Father God, today may we learn from the storms to find safety in You. May our faith be strengthened and our hope grow large within us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Jonah’s storm was a storm of Jonah’s own making, and it existed to point Jonah to God. The storm told about in the gospel of Matthew was one that came from nature, and it existed to point the disciples toward God.

Notice how in both stories, Jonah and Jesus were asleep in the bottom of the boat while the storm raged. I would imagine Jonah slept because he was exhausted from all of his running. Jonah was able to appease the storm by ending up in the belly of a fish, where he spent three days and three nights reflecting upon his situation and becoming obedient to God. Jesus, fully man and fully God, slept because He knew the wind and the seas were no danger to him, and when he said, Peace, be still, the storm had no choice other than to obey.

We are living in the storms of a pandemic which we cannot seem to control. And in the midst of the fear and disruption over this disease, we have come face to face with the injustice against our fellow man that still exists in the 21st Century. Both of these storms threaten to capsize the boat, but it is only Jesus who can calm the troubled seas.

Let us allow Jesus to speak peace over our situation, understanding that sometimes relief is immediate, but at other times we need to rely on God’s peace to go with us and bring us comfort and assurance, even in the midst of the storm.

Receive now this blessing: There is no storm so severe that God will not be with you. Take shelter in the God who is larger than the storm, larger than your problems. Take the name of Jesus you, and share Him with all you meet. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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