Peace During the Storm

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The dictionary has more than 14 definitions for “rest,” ranging from the rest of sleep, which can be a noun or a verb, to a break in musical notation. While there are many definitions of rest, they all have one thing in common—cessation from something.

We as Americans hate the idea of rest. We fill our days with as much as we can and then work into the nights. Weekends are for catching up on everything we couldn’t cram into the previous five days. We cannot step away from our digital devices because something might happen that needs our attention. We go to sleep with our phones by our beds because “they are our alarm clocks,” but in reality, we need the security that they provide us. Busy is comfortable, rest is not. I’m not sure if Jesus would have a smartphone today if he were walking among us, but I do know that it would not be parked beside his head at night.

During the weekend message, Whitehouse Campus Pastor Shawn Bellner gave us a picture of true rest. Jesus was not afraid of work. He spent much of his life traveling the countryside teaching and ministering to the needs of the masses. Every time he tried to get away, people found him and wanted something from him, and he helped them. So when Jesus and his disciples finally escaped into the solitude of the Sea of Galilee, he fell fast asleep. While Jesus slept, a fierce storm arose and his disciples feared for their lives.

Mark 4:37-38
37 But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. 38 Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

Jesus had such peace and trust in God that he was able to fully rest in the midst of a raging storm. When the disciples finally woke him, he commanded the storm to quiet and also quieted their hearts.

Mark 4:39-40
39 When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

Jesus asks us the same thing. “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” When the storms rage in our lives, where do we turn? Do we turn to Christ in faith and rest, or do we scramble to the nearest screen to see what the Google gods have for us today? Do you allow the chaos of our hyperconnected world to set the pace for your life, or can you step back and unplug? Can you make it through a whole day without checking your email or social media? The term Sabbath has connotations of strict absence from all things fun, but it still holds value for us today. God commanded his people to take a literal Sabbath. It wasn’t because he wanted to burden them with more rules, it was so that they, and we, could learn to rest and trust. When we set aside time to rest, we are telling God that we trust him to meet our every need. Our time is precious, and by resting we demonstrate our complete dependence on God.

How do you find rest? How much time do you allow yourself to unplug from the world around you and trust that God will take care of you? When you feel anxious, where do you turn first? Technology or prayer?

Next Steps:
Take a technology Sabbath. Choose a day and don’t check your email or social media. Make it a habit. If you find yourself mindlessly scrolling, turn off your screen and go outside. Breathe. Look around, and listen to the signs of life God has placed in your world.

Heavenly Father, thank you for inviting us into your rest. Thank you for the example of Jesus resting in perfect peace while the storm raged around him. Help us set aside our distractions and find true rest in you. Give us the strength and courage to step back from the frenzied pace of culture and find our peace in you. Amen.

This post was written by Julie Mabus. Julie has a passion for thinking about big ideas, art, reading, and seeing God reveal himself through creation. She is married and is homeschooling her five young children.

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3 replies
  1. Julie Estep
    Julie Estep says:

    This was very timely for me Julie! I’ve been having trouble getting to sleep because of anxious thoughts. Scheduling time to unplug before bed may just be key. Maybe I can spend that time in prayer and thanksgiving! Great article!

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