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On Your Mark

Great Peace

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. (Mark 4:39, NIV)

David cried plaintively, “May God arise, may his enemies be scattered” (Psalm 68:1).

It’s certainly what we cry when we want our circumstances changed — “Arise, O Lord. Can’t You do something about my situation?”

In the Gospel story of the storm at sea, the disciples cry out and the Lord does arise. He got up. The urgent shaking and pleading of the disciples to “wake up” stirred Him from His slumber.

“We’re swamped,” they said.

Isn’t that how you feel on occasion? God is sleeping, and you are screaming!

The eternal and universal lesson, however, is that He always hears. He always gets up — although sometimes we are disappointed by His inaction, or surprised at His action.

The disciples are surprised. It’s completely logical to believe that all they wanted was for Jesus to help them in bailing water out of the boat. They had never seen Him calm a storm, so I doubt their faith had grown mature enough to think that if He could heal a paralytic then He could also calm a storm.

If ever a miracle showed Jesus as Creator, this one certainly qualifies. He who spoke the universe into existence commands the elements with His voice. I cannot get my own dog to obey me — let alone wind and waves. But there is a receptor in nature that knows and responds to the voice of the Master.

No storm lasts forever, and no storm blows at the same time over all the earth. All storms are limited both by geography and duration. But when they come it’s with ferocity and surprise.

Our problem is that we don’t feel we can outlast our own localized storm, whether it’s illness, abandonment, financial reverses, loss of a job or a friend, or the death of a loved one. That’s surely how the disciples felt as well as those in the other boats nearby — they would perish before the storm ended.

On a normal night, conversation could flow freely across the water boat to boat. But not in a storm. That’s life. On calm days relationship flows freely, and we stay in easy communication with those around us. Yet, in storms, the words blow back in our faces, and we feel so alone that it seems useless to even try to communicate. The fury of the moment deafens all speech and hearing.

Jesus speaks. The winds and waves cease. The older translations put it better, “Peace, be still!”

Would that all storms in life ended as quickly! But, they don’t. Look at another storm, one of hurricane force that raged for two weeks. It’s recorded in Acts 27. In the end, the ship wrecks and casts the apostle Paul onto the beach. Why is one storm quieted and not another? This side of heaven, we may never figure out the answer.

But the Lord can give us peace from the storm, or peace in the storm.

You can have your Savior’s peace no matter what the circumstance. The apostle Paul, writing from prison to the Philippians, assures us that peace is available at all times: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (4:7).

A prayer of response
Help me, Lord Jesus, to know deeply within me the truth that my soul can be still because You are on my side, that I can trust fully in You. There is no storm that outlasts You, and You will either make my storm subside or carry me safely through it.

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

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