Day 22: Finding Calm in the Chaos of Life

Calm in the Chaos
rock wave

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4:8

How can we find peace for our souls when there is so much craziness going on around us?

When we were newlyweds, my husband and I got a yellow lab named Lucy.  We thought we were just getting a pet, but what we really got was our first lessons in parenting.

It turns out that our dog was terrified of thunderstorms and came completely unglued at even the hint of an impending storm.  We lived in Oklahoma, smack dab in the middle of Tornado Alley. Thunderstorms were very common, and they usually happened at night.  During a storm, she would run around like crazy, tremble, and pant until she drooled all over the place.

We tried everything we could think of to calm and comfort our poor distressed dog.  We crated her. Dogs are supposed to feel safe in their “den”.  She went ballistic.  We tried drugs the vet gave us.  We even tried to let her sleep in our bed between us.  She didn’t sleep.  She stood over us and drooled making all three of us miserable.  When all else failed, we put her in the garage so we could at least sleep even if she wouldn’t.  She barked.  She absolutely refused to be calmed no matter what we did.

She was safe, protected, loved; and yet she panicked herself into utter craziness.

Have you ever done that?  I can relate to her terror.  I also can get myself pretty worked up about things that appear threatening.  I’m an expert at fear and unnecessary worrying.  It feels wrong to me to be at peace in the midst of a storm. I feel like I’m not being a responsible person if I don’t panic. It helps me when others worry with me.  If I’m the only one distressed about a particular situation and my husband is at peace, then I feel like I have to do all the worrying for the both of us.  It’s hard to think rationally and logically when we are afraid.

The good news is that Jesus is the Lord of the Storm.

I love this story from Luke 8:22-25.

One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.
The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”
He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.
In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

  1. The disciples were caught in the storm in the first place because they obeyed.  Not every storm in life is an indication that we have veered off course or that God is displeased with us.  Sometimes he allows the storm because he has something amazing He wants to show us.
  2. Jesus is not worried. He’s resting peacefully.  In fact, he told them to get in the boat even though He knew the storm was coming. If Jesus is not upset, we should not be upset either.
  3. The fact that Jesus was awoken by the disciples and not the storm itself is telling. He was not stirred by danger and chaos on the sea, but by the pleading cries of His followers.  He hears our cry too.
  4. These disciples were not just imagining a terrifying possibility. They were actually in “great danger” of drowning.  Some of the disciples were fishermen by trade.  They had been in storms before.  This storm was raging so wild even men who made their living on the sea were panicking.  To us, they were very justified in being fearful.
  5. When they woke Jesus, they didn’t ask Him what to do. They only predicted their imminent demise.  They told Him the worst case scenario that they had imagined based on their knowledge and personal experience.  They didn’t even request His help.
  6. Jesus gave stern orders to the storm and it obeyed completely and instantly. Jesus is Lord over our storms as well.  Nothing that is happening in our lives is ever outside His control.  He is never looking at our situation and scratching His head saying, “Hmmm.  This is a pickle.  I’m not sure how I should fix this problem.  I know I spoke the Universe into existence, but Elizabeth over there has gotten things so messed up, I’m just not sure what to do about it.”  He’s got it.  He’s got you.  Rest in knowing that.
  7. Jesus’ question, “Where is your faith?” seems a little unfair at first. I mean, they were in a tumultuous storm that was sinking their boat.  But no matter how bad our storm gets, Jesus expects us to remain calm.  Our peace comes from knowing who He is and that we are His beloved.  Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Is 9:6).  We must look to Him and not at the waves that are swamping us if we want to find calm in the chaos (Mt 14:29-31).
  8. The disciples were shocked by His control over the chaos. Even though they lived and worked with Jesus every day, they still didn’t get it.  The same can be said of me.

[tweetthis]We must look to Jesus and not at the waves if we want to find calm in the chaos.[/tweetthis]

This is an encouraging and awe-inspiring example of Jesus removing the threat completely.  He does that for us too.  Sometimes He calms the storm.

But He also will allow the storm to continue sometimes.  There may be more He wants to teach us or He is setting the stage for something else more wonderful than we can imagine.  He may choose to let the storm rage around us and calm us from within instead. Sometimes He calms His child.

However, we must be willing to receive His peace.  He can offer peace and we still choose to fret.  We can be just like Lucy the Dog and refuse every attempt of His to calm us down.  Colossians 3:15 says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.”  The peace of Christ is to be like an umpire in our hearts alerting to us what is “safe” and what is “out”.  And if Jesus is resting peacefully as our boat gets rocked violently, then we need to allow His peace to rule our hearts as well.

This is my prayer for you.

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.”
2 Thessalonians 3:16

 “Sometimes He Calms the Storm” by Scott Krippayne

[youtube id=”9Ti1SULYteI”]

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  • Thanks again for an encouraging post. As I read this I couldn’t help but think of my second pregnancy and home birth. After the birth of Tevya I prayed hard against fear since it was more painful than I expected (posterior with much back pain and then tearing greatly) so I wasn’t looking forward to laboring with my second pregnancy. It wasn’t until after the twins were born that I realized to what extent God answered my prayer. A woman asked me specifically “weren’t you scared?” referring to the fact that we had twins at home without so much as a real midwife (we did have friends who were familiar with childbirth). It was at that point that I realized that I really hadn’t been fearful. It was no doubt largely due to ignorance which I admit sometimes works in our favor when we believe that God will show us what we need to know when we need to know it. We didn’t know that we were having twins so I didn’t stress about that. I didn’t know that having a baby in a transverse position (the second one was which alerted us to the fact that we weren’t done yet) prior to birth would have concerned those in a hospital. I didn’t know of some of the potential hazards of having twins, one of which I’m now convinced that we experienced without any lasting effects. In the end God blessed us with two healthy baby girls and my fear wouldn’t have added anything to the situation. I have to admit though, I still have to pray for peace when it comes to laboring and remember God’s faithfulness to answer in the past as I’m still prone to be fearful of it.

  • Elizabeth,
    What an encouraging word this is! (Wish I had read it this morning… could have used it!) Thanks for sharing with Thought-Provoking Thursday. I look forward to reading more from you in the weeks ahead.

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