“We’re gonna die!” you hear your friend scream above the loud crash of a wave as it slams into the side of your fishing boat. The small craft groans and creaks as it gets twisted and pushed in the water. Coldwater sprays your face as you grab a nearby bucket and feverishly attempt to scoop water out to keep from sinking. “Where did this storm come from?” you ask yourself as you brace for yet another incoming wave. The wind howls menacingly through the black sky with an occasional flash of lightning revealing a handful of men scrambling to keep the boat from capsizing. “Where…where is he?” you scream at the top of your lungs. “I don’t see him! Did he fall overboard?” Frantically you look around only to find your dear friend asleep in the back of the boat! You rush over in disbelief that a man could possibly be sleeping during the worst storm you’ve ever seen. After waking him up, he stands, wipes his groggy eyes, and calmly says, “There’s no need to be afraid.” And with that, he speaks as if talking to the storm itself. Within mere seconds the clouds dissipate, the wind ceases, and the waters become as smooth as glass.
Storms in life are inevitable. And while there are times when you may face a literal storm, I’m obviously speaking about storms of the symbolic type. Loss of employment, loss of family, spinal cord injury…maybe even all 3 of these…or more. These storms are real. The emotions, mental turmoil, and strained relationships are REAL. And let’s face it, “peace” does not come naturally in such situations.
While there are no “3 easy steps to obtaining peace” I believe that we can learn a few things from the real-life event I described in the beginning. It comes from Mark 4:35-41 and I hope it changes your life as it has changed my own. So…
Here are 3 easy steps to obtaining peace:
Easier said than done, right? Your life just got upended with a life-altering SCI and you might be asking yourself “Why did this happen to me?” Well, I suppose Jesus’ disciples were asking the same question when that storm came out of nowhere. I mean, technically, they were just following Jesus’ command when they set sail in the first place and then, WHAM! They were fearing for their life. They even shouted at him, “Don’t you care?”
Maybe that’s you. You’re frustrated and wrestling with whether or not God cares. Well, while you’re contemplating this, freaking out doesn’t help. Actually, panicking (while natural) doesn’t help with anything. You won’t think clearly, you’ll behave irrationally, and it will make it very difficult to move forward. So…take some time to breathe, pray and get your bearings.
You’re going to get through this.
The next thing we can see the disciples do when they were in their storm was to go find Jesus. Thankfully, they had the presence of mind in that chaos to go find the one guy who could help. For the record, don’t feel like you must have some “proper” prayer form when you talk to God…just be sure to do it. The disciples who ran to Him at this moment were terrified and it’s not like they were super calm when they spoke to Jesus.
Be authentic. Share your frustrations (He already knows about it). Listen. You’re in a storm…you need to find Jesus. If you don’t…you’ll sink…or worse. Don’t be that guy (or gal), you’re better than that and it doesn’t matter if you’re a fighter or not; Jesus IS! Run to Him! You’ll want Him on your side.
Look at what happened after those on the ship ran to Jesus. One moment there were waves, lightning, thunder, turmoil, and then…peace. Jesus is a game-changer! Were they still in the boat? Yes. Did they still have a journey ahead? Yes. Could they move forward each step with Jesus at their side? Heck yes.
Getting your eyes off your situation (don’t freak out) and then putting them on Jesus (find Jesus) doesn’t mean that everything magically gets better. But it DOES mean that each day you can live with the creator of heaven and earth by your side. Don’t trivialize this. If you really think about it, it’s pretty darn cool. No, it doesn’t make it any easier necessarily, but it DOES mean that you get to…
Take life one day at a time and ENJOY it.
And, when you can get to a place of taking it one day at a time, you just might find that you’ve found that peace you’ve been looking for.
The battle is NOT won with a “how-to” blog:
Ultimately, peace can not happen for you unless you have determined to receive it. There is no question that peace is there, ripe for the picking. There are countless bible verses that reference the peace of God which is freely given to those who are God’s people (for example Philippians 4:6-7). I fully believe that the above 3 steps are important steps to take. They will help free you up to receive God’s peace. However, if you’re not willing to receive Him and His love…you will not obtain His peace. Heart check.
But, that’s not you, right? I mean, you’ve read this blog all the way to the end and you’re still with me. So…maybe it’s time to take steps 1 or 2. Ready? GO!
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