Close your eyes for a second and picture PEACE. What does it look like to you? A sunny day lying on a tranquil beach listening to the waves softly lapping on the sand? A quiet forest walk beside a smooth lake? The crackling of a cosy fire with you curled up on the sofa in front of it and the mellow ticking of a clock?
Now unfortunately we have to snap out of that and get back to the real world! We are called as Christians to let the fruit of peace grow in our hearts, but at times I’m sure we all think that would be much easier if life was all pretty beaches, calm waters and cosy glows. In a world full of exams, work-stress, deadlines, family problems, dashed hopes, disappointments, relationship break-ups, illness, loss of loved ones, money worries……peace? Really?
Today we hope to discover this truth:
Remember we’ve already looked at some situations that seemed impossible for us to grow fruit in:
Love….when people are not lovely
Joy….when circumstances are far from happy
And we have discovered that it is the Holy Spirit’s supernatural power working in us that can make it possible for this fruit to grow in our lives. In fact, it seems the harder and darker the conditions, the more special the fruit and the brighter Christ’s reflection will shine through us.
So let’s trust the Perfect Gardener to continue this work in us when it comes to the fruit of peace.
Peace….when it’s stormy.
Read: Mark 4 v 35-41.
Today we will look at a story in the life of Jesus and His disciples where circumstances were far from peaceful.
As we read this story perhaps today you’d like to use some SOAP!
This is a method of Bible study people often find useful.
- Read the passage (Scripture)
- Jot down anything you notice or learn from it. (Observation)
- Write down how you think the Lord is applying this to your life today.(Application)
- Talk to God about what He has taught you and ask Him to help you work through the steps He has shown you need to be applied in your life today. (Prayer)
So try it out for yourself!
A few ideas I had for O and A in this passage were:
V35 It was Jesus who had the idea to get into the boat and cross over, even though He knew what lay ahead. He doesn’t promise us calm waters, but He does promise never to leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13 v 5)
V37 This was not a just a patch of turbulence; this was a hurricane! The men were experienced sailors, but they were obviously terrified (v 40) by this storm. We sometimes face situations which seem to turn our whole lives upside down, perhaps illness or family break-up. Our natural tendency may be to despair and panic, but Jesus wanted the disciples to realise that peace was not about having calm waters; peace was having the presence of Jesus with them in the boat!
V 40 Jesus tells the disciples that the secret to getting rid of our fear is faith. Is there a situation in your life that Jesus wants you to hand over to Him and trust Him with? Remember Jesus had told them at the start of the journey that they would cross over to the other side. It would have been easy for them to forget this promise in the middle of the troubled sea!
V38 Jesus had perfect peace and knew they would survive the journey, so He was able to sleep during the storm! Of course, the disciples thought this meant He didn’t care. Do you sometimes feel as if God has forgotten you in your trouble? Sometimes we can find it hard to hear from Him or see what He is doing. It’s times like these when we particularly have to use our faith and just simply believe that He is in control. Although this can be really difficult we must remember that we actually need times like this in our lives, if our faith is to develop and get stronger. The disciples were going to need lots of faith for what lay ahead, so Jesus, in love, was preparing them.
Extra Time: The Other Boats
I’d read this story lots of times before but had never noticed the little sentence at the end of v36
“There were also other boats with him.”
My picture of the situation was always the disciples in their little boat alone on the Sea of Galilee; but the truth is, there were several other vessels out there. The only difference was the other boats didn’t have Jesus in them. Isn’t this the case in the storms of life? There are people all around us…in our classes, at our workplace, in our families….who face stormy times and troubles without having the lovely Presence of God with them. How sad!
But Jesus brought peace to the situation and all those other little boats would have benefitted also.
Jesus wants the fruit of peace in our lives to be so clear that troubled souls all around us will see it. He wants us to be the vessels that will bring calm and comfort into situations that are otherwise very tense and choppy.
- How do I react when there are stressful times at school and work?
- Am I the peacemaker that God wants me to be when arguments and disagreements flare up?
Over the next couple of days we’ll consider some verses that give us real practical advice about how to have peace, even in the storms.