The Love That Brings Us Peace

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Do you remember the scene from the Bible when Jesus and His disciples were out in a boat in the middle of a storm? (Mark 4:35-41) Mysteriously, Jesus was sound asleep in the stern even though the wind was howling, the waves were breaking over the sides, and the boat was filling with water. His disciples, who were justifiably terrified, woke Jesus up and asked him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” Maybe an English teacher would classify that last sentence as a question, but to my mind it was more of an accusation thinly disguised as a question. Maybe you’ve tossed the same question heavenward in the midst of a stormy season? “Do you even care, God?”

Jesus responded by rebuking the wind saying “Peace, be still!” and everything became as quiet as a cloud passing in front of the moon. But then came the most interesting part of the story. It says that this filled the disciples with “great fear.” In other words the disciples became more terrified in the stillness than they had been in the storm. Of course, it wasn’t the stillness that scared them. It was Jesus himself who did. They asked one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Of course, we know the answer to their question, but put yourself for a moment in the sandals of those men. They did not have the fullness of the New Testament writings to guide them in understanding the identity of the man in their boat. What possibilities were there? “Who exactly is this Jesus,” they wondered to themselves. How would you have answered if you knew only what they knew? Could a man command the sea? And if not a man, what? It’s terrifying to suddenly find yourself in a boat with Almighty God.

I wonder how well they knew the psalms. The answer to their questions about Jesus’ identity could be found there.

In psalm 65:7 almighty God is described as the one “who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves.”

In Psalm 89:9 it says of God: “You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them.”

Psalm 93:4 repeats this idea of God as the sovereign master of the sea, “Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty!”

And then, of course, we come to the text that we will be studying together this Sunday, Psalm 107:23-32.

23 Some went down to the sea in ships,
doing business on the great waters;
24 they saw the deeds of the Lord,
his wondrous works in the deep.
25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26 They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths;
their courage melted away in their evil plight;
27 they reeled and staggered like drunken men
and were at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
29 He made the storm be still,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,
and he brought them to their desired haven.
31 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

Are you in the midst of a storm today? Are you questioning if God even cares? Give some thought to these verses.