By: Marissa Hochstedler
When you think of the word “peace” what comes to mind? Do you think of a place? A person? A thing? A season of life? A memory, dream, or desire?
In order to focus in on what describes our sense of peace, we must first define it. According to Webster’s’ Dictionary, “Peace” is explained as “a freedom from disturbance; tranquility.”
Personally, when I feel at peace, I am walking outside along a path covered with the burnt orange and bright yellow colors of autumn leaves. Or, I am seated at my desk accompanied by the flicker of a candle, as the sun peeks from behind the clouds on a new day, while I read the sacred words printed across my Bible.
It is easy to trust Jesus when we feel comfortable and free, when we feel his Spirit wrapped around us like the warmth of a blanket in the cool autumn air.
It is easy to trust Jesus when the sun is shining, as you sit outdoors and enjoy the summer breeze leaving and the winter air arriving.
It is easy to trust Jesus when you spend a day doing the things you love, uninterrupted by distractions or disturbances.
But what happens on the days when you wake up feeling an intense panic rising in your chest as the day is about to start? What happens when you feel worried about the endless to-do list running through your head? What happens when life feels like an inescapable storm surrounding you?
Our sense of peace can be robbed by the anxieties of the world. But, peace is possible to have through the storm because of Jesus. It may not be easy to find but it is there.
In the book of Mark, (specifically chapter 4 verses 35-41), we see Jesus taking his disciples out into the sea in order to continue sharing the good news about the Son of God to people in different regions. Back then, people did not have high-speed cars or massive airplanes they could use for travel. They had their feet and sometimes a rickety, old fishing boat.
Jesus took his disciples into the waters of the evening. Maybe it was a calm, peaceful night with clear waters and a soft sunset painted ahead. Or maybe a darkness was covering the sky, warning them of the storm soon arriving.
Either way, Jesus took them out knowing what was to come…
“And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion.” (Mark 4:37)
And the storm came and the winds blew, and the waters toppled over the boat. Along with the heaviness of the waters; panic, anxiety and fear were also being sloshed around in the hearts of the disciples. While the disciples were being filled with fear in the front of the boat, Jesus was being filled with rest in the back of the boat.
“And they woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be Still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” (Mark 4:38-39).
And the anxiety-filled air turned into the stillness of peace. Their fear-stricken hearts were turned into awe-struck hearts at the power of the Son of God.
“He said to them, ‘why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?’ and they were filled with great fear and said to one another, ‘who then is this man, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’” (Mark 4:40-41).
Who is this man that the winds and waves obey him?
This man, his name is Jesus.
I encourage you, the next time you feel as if the life you are living feels like a raging storm surrounding you, hold fast to the truth this passage teaches us about who Jesus is:
– Jesus is all knowing. Jesus took his disciples out into the water, knowing a storm was going to arrive as they were in the midst of the sea. Jesus allows storms to happen in our life for various reasons. Maybe to test our faith, to build deeper trust and dependence, to warn us or refine us. We might not always know the reason, but we can rest assured knowing that there is always great purpose.
– Jesus is with you. Jesus stuck with the disciples through the storm. Jesus did not jump out of the boat, and leave them on their own. He sticks by his beloved people through the messiness that fears can bring. When you feel alone in the anxieties and worries of the world, hold fast to the truth that Jesus is right there beside you.
– Jesus has great power. Jesus has the strength to stop the waves in the midst of the sea. Our God is full of power that is unexplainable and peace that transcends all understanding.
Because of Jesus, we have hope, that throughout the powerful winds and the crashing waves of this life, we are not left to drown. Instead, we are left inside the boat, able to stand beside the one who provides tranquility in the midst of the storm. We are left beside the one who sticks with us and never leaves us covered in fear.
The storms may tell you that you will easily be overtaken by their power and might. But Jesus shows you that He is with you in the storms and his peace has greater control and power over the waters of the world, all of which cower in his presence.
Marissa was born and raised in small town Indiana and has grown to love living between cornfields and down country back roads. Marissa gave her life to Jesus while she was in college and has walked with Him ever since. Marissa is newly married to her husband, Cameron, and enjoys baking homemade bread, reading books and drinking coffee. Marissa has a heart for spreading the good news of Jesus through writing.