Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Calm

Douglas Frank Photo

Calm

Can you “Keep Calm and Carry on,” in the storms of life? That was the admonition and poster made to help the people of Great Britain calm as the Germans were preparing to attack the island in WWII. Do you become anxious for everything with angst, ranting and grumbling at God? This is the opposite of “Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving make your requests to God and the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Calm is a beautiful thing as I stand on the bluff over Lake Michigan looking over the expanse to the horizon over the calm inland ocean.  Psalm 97:1 encourages us, “The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad, let the distant shores rejoice.” But the next day the winds are roaring from the northeast and the waves are pounding the shoreline. Life is like that, without warning. 

The disciples were in their boat battling a “ furious storm”that blew up on the Sea of Genessaret. They thought they were going to drown, and Jesus was asleep in the stern. They woke Him saying, ‘”Lord, save us! We’re going to drown! He replied, ‘”You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”’ Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm”(Matthew 8:25-26). They were amazed that even the winds and waves obeyed Him. I hope that you are amazed or understand that everything obeys God. So “Keep Calm and Carry On.” 

So why do we get so distraught when circumstances are not as we would have them? Peace with and of God comes as we pray with thanksgiving about everything and are anxious of nothing. Now that’s hard to do without faith. That’s why Jesus admonished the disciples. In fact without faith it is impossible to please God, but all things are possible through Christ who gives us strength Scripture teaches. So, “Keep Calm and Carry On.” 

We need to obey God, unlike Jonah the Prophet. As we read in his short book, he was disobedient and afraid of God’s goodness and grace in all things. So, the ocean became furious again and the people were afraid. Jonah knew that the storm was his doing and therefore the ship was in the violent sea.  Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm” (Jonah 1:15). It turned out that this demonstration caused the men to fear the Lord, offering sacrifice and vows. 

Jesus said, ‘“Quiet! Be still!”Then the wind died down and it was completely calm” (Mark 4:39).He continues to do so even when people get wild and crazy like they did in Charlottesville or Acts 19 when idol making craftsmen’s business was hurting because of the Apostle Paul’s teaching in Ephesus. The city clerk tried to calm the angry Artemis worshippers saying, “Therefore, since these facts are undeniable, you ought to calm down and not do anything rash” (Acts 19:36). People and especially crowds lose control and chaos can easily ensue. But Jesus and His disciples teach us to “Keep Calm and Carry On.” But we usually don’t listen, and instead just follow our emotions not the truth of the gospel of peace and calm. This is the discipline of self-control that brings calm and the peace of God. 





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