“He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still! Then the wide ceased, and there was dead calm.’” Mark 4:39 NRSV
It was our second full year in Florida. The news reports had been warning of the possible threat for a few days. As transplants from the state of Michigan we didn’t really know what to think of all the news. My parents were not fully aware of the needed preparations and the extent of the potential threat. There had been a huge storm brewing in the Atlantic Ocean for quite a while and most of Florida did not seem overly concerned. But now it was almost upon us. I remember our family putting masking tape on the windows of our home. I also remember wondering what in the world masking tape was going to do to protect us. Then, in August of 1979, Hurricane David [a category 2 hurricane] made landfall near West Palm Beach, Fla. and skirted the coastline. We lived in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. and we experienced the northern side of the storm and the 75 mile per hour winds. It seemed to last for a long time as the wind and rain continued. Then something happened that I had never experienced before. Just as quickly as the raging winds and pounding rain had come it was gone. The eye of the storm passed directly over our house. For about 20 minutes it was as calm as could be with the sun shining and clear skies directly over us. Then, after 20 minutes, the rain and the wind came back with abandon. There were several hours on either side of the eye of the storm where the storm raged. However, when the eye went over it was calm.
Every time I read the story of Jesus calming the wind and the waves, I remember my experience in 1979 with Hurricane David. As Jesus and his disciples are traveling in a boat a storm blows in on them. The storm was so intense that the waves were crashing in over the sides of the boat and the wind was tossing them around. Some of the disciples were seasoned fishermen and they were afraid. This is how bad the storm was. Yet, Mark records that in the midst of the storm Jesus was asleep on a cushion in the back of the boat. The disciples wake him up and ask him if he cares that they are going to die. Jesus responds by commanding the wind and waves to stop. “Peace! Be still!” Jesus commands. Sure enough, the wind stops blowing and the waves stop crashing. Mark writes that,
“… there was dead calm.” It was as if the eye of the storm had just settled in directly over them. There was miraculous peace.
Actually, there are two kinds of peace in this story. First, there is internal peace. This peace is evidenced in Jesus. Jesus was at peace in the midst of the storm. Yes, he was asleep. He was asleep because he was at peace internally. No outward circumstance could take away that peace and he was able to sleep—even in the middle of a raging storm. The peace Jesus had was internal, rooted in his faith, and not bound to any external circumstance. The second kind of peace was external peace. This is the peace that Jesus brought by calming the storm. Jesus commanded the wind and the waves to cease. Jesus did not calm the hearts and minds of the disciples. Instead, Jesus took away the circumstances that caused them to lose their sense of peace. Jesus produced a miracle that removed the circumstances and the disciples responded to what Jesus had done. Their peace did not take faith, but it brought them to be in awe of Jesus.
The miraculous peace in this story was Jesus’ peace while he was asleep in the back of the boat. Jesus had internal miraculous peace because his complete trust was in the maker of the wind and waves. In the middle of the storm he could be at peace because of the One in whom he had placed his faith. When we wait for the miraculous calming of the storm we miss the miraculous peace Jesus offers in the midst of the storm. Maybe you have gone through the storm already. Perhaps you are in the middle of the storm right now. It is certain there will be a storm in your future. The key to miraculous peace is to know that it comes from within. Peace isn’t dependent on your circumstances it is dependent on your faith. When we look to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, we will always find the miraculous peace that allows us to remain calm in the midst of the storm.
Where do you need to experience the miraculous inner peace of Jesus Christ in your life?
This Sunday we continue our message series for Lent entitled “Miraculous.” We will look at the way Jesus offers miraculous peace—even in life’s storms. We can choose to live a miraculous life in Jesus Christ. I hope you will join me this Sunday at 8:15|NINE45|11:15 in worship. You can also go to SAUMC.NET and join us via livestream. The best is yet to come. I love you all and can’t wait to see you in church!