Chapter 35: “Peace Be Still”

March 29, 2007

“How often the disciples’ experience is ours!” DA350

This snippet from this chapter about the calming of the storm and the demoniacs could refer to many things. Without looking at the chapter, what are the first things that come to mind? What did the disciples do that we also do? I thought of these:

a. Show boating.

b. Focusing on our fears.

c. Accusing God of disinterest in our plight.

Here’s the real deal:

“In their efforts to save themselves, they forgot Jesus; and it was only when, in despair of self-dependence, they turned to Him that He could give them help.” DA350

The experience that we have which is a repeat of the disciples experience is to try and save ourselves. There are a couple of ways I see this happening in my own life and the lives of others. The first has to do with finding a life partner. The second is career and ministry paths.  Third, we think we can survive our addictions, and somehow be fit for heaven.

1. I have my beefs with secular dating, but realize the world is blundering on with as many tools as man can invent, and shouldn’t be held to too high a standard–basically let them continue to chase the feeling. And the Christian system seems to be that we find someone who turns us on, and then ask God to bless our will? Where is our faith? At the root we don’t believe that God is romantic, or worse yet that God will chose someone we don’t like. He might even cause us to sacrifice the love we want for the good of His kingdom. In this, I will despair of self-dependence.

2. We have many ideas about work–both for money and ministry. I think I struggle with this because I view it too often as my work. Both in traveling my career path, and in ministries I like to claim ownership.  This one it seems I have failed at enough times to be rid of self-dependence, but in reality, I am His, and the work is His, the money is His, and the ministry is His. Beyond this, my weakness and incompetencies are His–and that for me is the hardest to cry out about. Strength beyond my own must be His as well. In this, I will despair of self-dependence.

3. We are all addicted. If it’s not a substance it’s status, sex, gaming, buying, religion, or other escape. Everyone is addicted to self. The idea that Christians become stronger, and graduate into professional, elite, and super Christians is hard to buck. No, we become more dependent. Rowing our own spiritual boat through this storm is the experience of the disciples that is repeated in our hearts. It’s a tricky thing. Self dies hard, especially in areas where we feel most competent. We vow to do better when we fall to the worn out and familiar sin. We adopt a new spiritual cure. We white knuckle on the oars, drop our head, and paddle harder. Jesus is there all the time. In your spiritual boat. He’s not even asleep! In this, I am learning to despair of self-dependence.

“Lord, save us! We are perishing!” 

“Never did a soul utter that cry unheeded.” DA349

“Peace, be still.”

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3 Responses to “Chapter 35: “Peace Be Still””

  1. Uncle Len said

    No to side step your insightful comments – I see another perspective. “All day He had been teaching and healing… Day after day He had ministered…scarecely pausing for food or rest… and now the day found Him so utterly wearied He etermined to see retirement…”

    When we become so utterly engaged in God’s mission for us we experience both peace and the deep sleep of Divine accomplishment. Now, I don’t know what that says about the disciples in this story except they may not have yet connected thier work with the Mission. I have come to believe that when one is so fully absorbed with God’s mission for us the worry quotient tumbles to low numbers.

    This story rocks my little boat of self-contentment. I know there are many days when I have labored with intensity for self-achievement instead of ministry for others. And I don’t say that glibbly or with any pride. And when there has been some attempt to minister it has been more of a tokenism or fulfillment of an assignment than Spirit inspired.

    Later in the story it says “When Jesus was awakened…He was in perfect peace.” I wonder what it would take for me to always awaken day or night in “perfect peace”? Guess I’ll have to work on that concept.

    Appreciate your blogging – and love your writing.

    Cheers,
    UL

  2. wallygoots said

    Very interesting Uncle Len. I feel worn out by Calculus–being that the focus is self-enhancing. I realize the possible Godly purposeful end to maximize mentoring of kids, but while I study and work to live, it’s difficult for life not to be about me. I hope that I have at times connected my current work with God’s mission, but being alone almost forces self serving.

    Still I know what it means to wake in perfect peace. Just last night I went to bed in a storm; tossing up worries and frustration. It’s possible to wrestle all night in sleep. Thankfully, in some land between here and Jabbok, my mind came back to the promises and character of God, and I work in peace.

    The idea of “perfect peace” interests me. It is easy to apply from this description that Jesus always maintained perfect peace as part of his perfect nature, and to do otherwise is sin. I infer form context that Jesus wasn’t experiencing perfect peace when cleansing temples, cursing fig trees, woeing rulers, when John died, at the last supper, in Gethsemane, or on the cross. So I suggest a separation between angst that is normally human, to that which is of a natural human prone to doubt and forget God. Possibly a better reality is that God’s peace may underlie every human emotion, even those that tend toward anxiety just as God’s love is a filter for every hard teaching. Jesus didn’t forget what He knew of God during every storm. And even in anxiety remembered.

    Course, Jesus might also have walked to shore.

    Cheers, Seth

  3. Uncle Len said

    “Perfect peace” is one of those phrases over used and misused and misapplied. Perfect suggests completion – no room for improvement. I would offer “perfect” in this context being similar to “perfect love”, perfect faith” – a maturity of trust in God that brings peace even when clearing the temple with whip and furniture rearraning. I believe Jesus was at peace during the temple raid. He was totally at peace knowing what He was doing was the will of His Father. There is a neat sentence about 20 chapters farther that says “The one law of His life was the will of the Father.” That core value established “peace” regardless of the circumstance(s).

    Cheers, UL

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