~By: Silvana Place~
Not too long ago, I found myself desperately wanting to hear God speak to me. I have to be honest, many thoughts were flowing through my head, and, although I didn’t have the time restraint of having to get ready for and head to work, I did have the busyness of all the chaos that is going on in our world right now on my mind. I just couldn’t hear Him clearly, and it really bothered me. I wanted to know what He was wanting to say to us and where He was during this storm.
I did what I knew to do, I went to the Word of God and read and waited. Still silence. As I went about my day, my mind remained on Him. I thought, ‘Although we are distanced at home from one another, I am still speaking to my husband and kids and, in the virtual world, to many people throughout my day. I really want to provide an encouraging word or a word of wisdom to those struggling to find a place of peace right now.’ My thoughts were literally repeating, Jesus, please speak, I am listening!
Later that evening as I was getting ready for bed, I was led to go to the book of Mark. In Mark 4:35-41, after a very long day of teaching and ministering to the multitude of people, Jesus and His disciples went out onto the lake on a boat to cross to the other side. Jesus fell asleep, physically weary from the long day, and a nasty storm appeared that terribly frightened the disciples. Now, most of these men were seasoned fisherman, so you know they would have initially been accustomed to weathering a storm by setting their sail down and so forth, but this storm was like no other. Even with Jesus, the miracle worker, on the boat with them, they became fearful.
Oh, how this can or maybe has happened to us! We know Jesus and Holy Spirit live in us, yet through various storms in our lives we think He has checked out or perhaps is ‘asleep’ during our desperate, seemingly hopeless, situations and needs. Those disciples literally thought they were going to die. Again, very seasoned fishermen were on board, but so was Jesus. He remained asleep, so they woke Him, and their first words were, “Jesus, don’t you care? We are going to drown!” Vs. 38. At that moment of their very real desperation and hopelessness, Jesus responded by rebuking the storm and commanding it to “Silence and be still.” Vs 39. In other translations, He simply speaks “PEACE, be still.” As Scripture puts it, “Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm.” Vs. 39. Jesus proceeded to ask them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
How often do we find ourselves in these exact moments? One day we’re walking with Jesus while all is calm, believing we trust Him and have put our faith in Him, and suddenly a storm hits and we doubt where He is or if He is even listening. I know I have had that happen in my walk with Christ. But, I have realized it is in these times that our faith is really put to the test, and it is also in these moments that our faith has the opportunity to GROW and learn a new attribute of who God is. In the lives of the disciples, they quickly learned that Jesus, Son of God, Creator of the world, had the power to command the raging sea to be still. Wow! Had they not encountered the storm they would not have known that He is the One who commanded peace over their lives and over even the most hopeless situations.
I realize we are in uncertain times right now, but I encourage you, during this ‘storm’ of uncertainty of health and employment, to set your eyes on Christ. Allow His peace, which will guard your heart (Phil. 4:7), to overwhelm and saturate your situation. God certainly has our attention, and He is desiring to fill us with His peace and to speak to us daily, throughout the day. Stay connected to Him! Here are some ways to do just that:
Stay in the Word of God, the Bible, more than anything right now. Meditate on His Word. His Word is alive, and it serves as a way that Almighty God speaks and confirms things to us.
Seek the Holy Spirit daily. Ask God for a fresh filling every day, and He will prepare your heart to hear God's voice. His Spirit, that still, small voice inside you, is the One who will remind you of what God said and help you recognize God's opportunities in your life. Holy Spirit is our Encourager and will empower us to live victoriously in every situation, even in this one. He is also called our Counselor and will help us to discern the times we are in as He gives us the wisdom that we need.
I implore you to pray at all times and for all people. All throughout Scripture we see where the prayers of God’s people caused the hand of God to move in a hopeless situation. Just like the disciples called out to Jesus to intervene on their behalf, let's call to Him now to intervene on behalf of all that is happening during this health and economic crisis. He is able!
Worship Him! What better way to allow the peace of God to fill your heart and mind! Lift His name up high alone and/or with others.
Stay connected to other hope filled believers. It is easy to fall into the trap of hopelessness through the media and those that do not yet have the hope that is found in Jesus. Gather with your family or virtually online and begin to read the Word together and pray with and for one another.
Continue Kingdom work. For such a time as this, be the light in darkness. To those who don’t yet know Jesus, be the one to share the Gospel with them. Kingdom work has not stopped. If anything, today the harvest is ripe and in much need of laborers. Praise God that this can very much be done digitally. People are desperate for hope right now. If Christ lives in you, you are then a carrier of hope.
Friend, I pray that the peace of God be with you today and in the days ahead, and that as you call out to Him, you will hear Him command ‘Peace’ over the storm. My ‘go to’ verses when I am struggling to find peace are found in Philippians 4:4-9:
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4-9 NLT