PEACE IN THE MIDST OF PANIC
An artist was commissioned by a wealthy man to paint something that would depict peace. After a great deal of thought, the artist painted a beautiful country scene. There were green fields with cows standing in them, birds were flying in the blue sky and a lovely little village lay in a distant valley. The artist gave the picture to the man, but there was a look of disappointment on his face. The man said to the artist, “This isn’t a picture of true peace. It isn’t right. Go back and try again.
The artist went back to his studio, thought for several hours about peace, then went to his canvas and began to paint. When he was finished, there on the canvas was a beautiful picture of a mother, holding a sleeping baby in her arms, smiling lovingly at the child.
He thought, surely, this is true peace, and hurried to give the picture to the wealthy man. But again, the wealthy man refused the painting and asked the painter to try again.
The artist returned again to his studio. He was discouraged, he was tired and he was disappointed. Anger swelled inside him, he felt the rejection of this wealthy man. Again, he thought, he even prayed for inspiration to paint a picture of true peace. Then, all of a sudden an idea came, he rushed to the canvas and began to paint as he had never painted before. When he finished, he hurried to the wealthy man.
He gave the painting to the man. He studied it carefully for several minutes. The artist held his breath. Then the wealthy man said, “Now this is a picture of true peace.” He accepted the painting, paid the artist and everyone was happy.
And what was this picture of true peace?? The picture showed a stormy sea pounding against a cliff. The artist had captured the furry of the wind as it whipped black rain clouds which were laced with streaks of lightening. The sea was roaring in turmoil, waves churning, the dark sky filled with the power of the furious thunderstorm.
And in the middle of the picture, under a cliff, the artist had painted a small bird, safe and dry in her nest snuggled safely in the rocks. The bird was at peace midst the storm that raged about her. (Author Unknown).
Mark 4:35-41 (KJV) 35 And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. 36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. 37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
One of the best known stories in the Gospels is that of Jesus’ calming the storm on the lake. Just from a simple reading of the few verses we would rightly conclude that the account demonstrates Jesus’ authority over the elements of nature, and, the disciples weak faith for being afraid. The story comes in a series of reports about Jesus’ authority in various areas—sickness, demons, death, and sin. It provides another significant part to the portrayal of the King: He is not just a king over the people of Israel; rather, He is king over all nature as well.
- ESSENTIALS TO PEACE IN THE MIDST OF PANIC
Notice the first thing the disciples did in their time of panic. They didn’t immediately turn to Jesus! They should have, but they didn’t. They were exhausting all their efforts as seamen and fishermen until the boat was near full of water. Then, they turned to Jesus.
We often seek to fix the situation ourselves in our power and in our ability which fails us.
In our modern world, we often hear this familiar call to action: “Don’t just stand there—do something!” However there are times when we can’t do anything but wait. And there are times when this thought of “Just Do Something” is an inherent danger when we try to force this way of thinking into our spiritual life.
We are going to be talking in a moment about making some decisions which there will be no real good and totally correct way to answer.
Too often, whether we voice the belief or not, we act as though God needs our help. We wrestle with Him for some degree of control over the events in our life. In effect, we proudly make a stand and proclaim, “Okay, Lord. I think this is what You want to happen, so I’m going to work and work and work and make it come about.”
Somewhere in the back of our mind, we hear the oft-quoted counsel, “God helps those who help themselves.” In fact, the vast majority of Christians believe that this word of advice is found in the Bible. It is not!
Actually, this statement is entirely contrary to the Word of God, which instead tells us, Psalm 46:10 (KJV) 10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The Father knows we cannot help ourselves. That is the very reason He sent His Son to die—because we were utterly helpless to improve our sinful condition.
Romans 5:8 (KJV) 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
While we seek to do God’s will, we must not forget His fundamental call to stillness before Him. When we are quiet in His presence and focused on Him, we put ourselves in the most teachable position possible.
I trust we have been on our face before Him seeking His guidance in this social distancing decision.
2. PRAYER BRINGS BLESSINGS AND REWARDS TO PEACE IN THE MIDST OF PANIC.
I want you to Notice what the disciples did in their time of panic. After realizing they could not correct the situation, fix the problem, save themselves, however you wish to phrase it, they called out to Jesus!
Oh that we would learn to first call out to God through His Son Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord!
Our time spent with the Lord has a dramatic impact on our daily life. When we set aside periods to meditate upon His Word and listen to what He’s telling us, we’ll start to notice both subtle and dramatic changes taking place. We will find Peace in the midst of panic!
First, Prayer and Meditation on God’s Word brings a genuine personal closeness with God. Think about a family member or one of your good friends. The warmth and depth you share with him or her did not simply appear out of nowhere. Rather, the relationship is the result of long-standing, close-knit interaction that has been built on a foundation of love and trust. And we must ask, How is it possible to get close to someone without spending precious time together? Likewise, we cannot grow close to the Lord unless we make it a point to spend time with Him.
Second, we’ll begin to gain a godly peace and perspective through prayer and time in His Word. Certainly the apostle Paul was mindful of this; he actively prayed for himself and others to have the Lord’s outlook.
Ephesians 1:16-19 (KJV) 16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
When we start to see with enlightened eyes, the world— along with its joy and pain—becomes much clearer, as does our understanding of how to deal with circumstances.
Third, our prayers & focus on God’s Word enables us to develop a pure heart. As we spend time in the Lord’s presence we find peace, He will bring to the surface those things in our heart that do not belong there. We see this clearly in the repentance of King David, as described in Psalm 51. This passage was written after David’s sorrowful realization of his sin with Bathsheba. Because of his close relationship with God, David could not hide from his own sin. In verse 3, he cries, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.”
David’s painful self-awareness led him into reconciliation with God. In the same way, when we allow our relationship with the Lord to permeate the darkest places of our heart, we, too, can find the strength to accept our Father’s amazing love and forgiveness. And Peace with God leads to the Peace From God that passes up earthly understanding.
Fourth, spending time with God causes the pressures of life to dissipate. Jesus warned His disciples that they would face trouble in this world (just as all of us will), but He assured them that they had no real reason to be afraid. Why fear a foe that Christ has already conquered (John 16:33)?
Fifth, looking to the Lord, hearing His word, and being in His presence brings peace. In this troubled world, we frequently find ourselves in need of a tranquil heart, which can be attained only through Jesus.
John 14:1 (KJV) 1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
John 14:27 (KJV) 27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Paul tells us that the world is not even capable of understanding God’s peace, let alone able to offer us any kind of authentic serenity.
Philippians 4:7 (KJV) 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
While a desire for personal reward and blessing should not be our only reason for spending time with the Lord, there are indeed wonderful blessings in store for those who meditate on His Word. Not the least of which is the ability to find peace in the midst of panic no matter how sever the storm of life may seem.
Are you too busy trying to keep up with God? Help God by doing it your way in your strength and power? Lay down your efforts and simply become quiet. Turn to the Lord, Call out unto Him and What you discover in the stillness may revolutionize your call to Christian service and your Christian life because in so doing you will find Peace In The Midst of Panic.