“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”
–Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)
Those of us who know Christ should also have his peace in our lives, but sadly, a good example of what many of our Christian lives are like can be found in the famous story I’m about to tell. Instead of living in this way, God wants you to have the peace spoken of in the above Isaiah verse. As we can see here, peace is not the absence of conflict or storms, because according to Jesus we will always face trouble in this world. Peace comes from knowing that Christ has overcome the world, and is therefore in control of your situation.
The gospels tell us that Peter asked Jesus if he could come to him on the water. The storm was violent, but Jesus told his disciple to come anyway. I can imagine Peter struggling against the wind and waves. Climbing out of the boat must have been next to impossible, and Peter must have felt anything but peace. As we picture the scene unfolding, we can imagine the storm howling in his ears, and Peter must have wondered what he got himself into. He finally struggled out of the boat after several tries, but the wind must have pushed him back several times. It would appear that things seemed only to grow worse and worse as time went on. His feet touched a turbulent lake, instead of a solid water. Peter couldn’t believe it. Wasn’t he supposed to be the superhero who walked on water? And where was Jesus anyway?
Luckily for us, that isn’t the end of the story. Exhausted physically and emotionally, Peter cried out to Jesus, and he suddenly felt the hand of God supporting him. Then, as the two of them walked together back to the boat, something happened which changed Peter’s outlook. Suddenly he began to realize that his focus had begun to shift away from the master and towards the monstrosity facing him. As a result, Peter started to sink. Instead of the peace that Jesus spoke of, there was now a growing sense of panic as the water started to go over Peter’s head.
“That’s great,” you say, “but how does that story affect me?” Well, contrast this story with your own life. Do you have the unshakable peace that only Jesus can give you? If, like most of us, yours is a reflection of Peter’s story, which depends upon the circumstances around you, please read on. God is telling us that life doesn’t have to be lived in that manner.
Many times, instead of trusting God, we run away when we see the storms approaching. In doing this, we make two grave errors. First, instead of giving our cares to the Lord, we tend to get lost in a long list of woes and troubles. It is only when we ask Him for help in carrying life’s load, that God can guide us through its confusing maze, and we find the peace that He so desperately wants to give His children. This is the peace that passes all understanding. Simply put, it is the security of knowing deep inside that Jesus is with us when life gets tough.
I am a hospital chaplain, and I try to tell all of my patients about this kind of peace. For while many people want to blame God for what they are facing, their storms and yours are just the result of living in a fallen world.
Secondly, once we get caught up in our cares, they will often weigh us down so much that we forget to look to the only one who can lift them from our shoulders. But again, isn’t the storm that Peter faced like the waves of life that all of us go through? The way that we confront these storms depends on the choices that we make. We can either squelch God’s working in our lives by gazing at the problems, or surrender to His working in our hearts by fixing our minds on Jesus on a moment-by-moment basis. The first option leads to unrest and confusion amidst the storm, while the second leads to a peace that lets us know we can face anything with God’s help.
So whatever you might be going through, surrender to God’s plan, and you will find that with Him all things are possible. Just as Jesus took Peter’s hand and guided him back to the boat when he called out, he wants to take your hand if you call out to him today. But the choice belongs to you. Will you continue to live in a state of unrest? Or will you allow Jesus to take your hand and give you his incredible gift of peace?
When you’re facing tough times, remember Peter. All you have to do is cry out to Jesus when the storms seem to grow more and more fierce around you.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
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If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.