“He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was as great calm.” -Mark 4:39 [ESV]
Ever been through a life-storm? They’re the kind that sneak up on you when you least expect it and, as prepared as you thought you were for that storm… you realized that you felt stranded, under-equipped, and totally afraid. There is a brief, six-sentence paragraph in three of the gospels that describes this; it is one of the most powerful metaphors I know.
Jesus knew a storm was coming, so He suggested they take their dilapidated fishing boat (appx. 7.5 ft wide and 4.5 ft high) across the expansive (appx. 8 to 13 miles), and deep (appx. 200 ft) sea of Galilee.
Why did He do that?
Because a demonstration of peace in the middle of a tempest reveals potent power.
Mark 4:39 says: “He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was as great calm.”
This word rebuke means “sharp disapproval or criticism.” Sometimes Christians say that rebuke is “loving correction” meant to help challenge our brothers and sisters to grow spiritually; this is inaccurate. We are called to act with intoxicating gentleness in our relationships because it is the sole job of the Holy Spirit to rebuke us in our wayward attitudes, gravitation towards temptation, and misalignment with the Word. Through relationship and discipleship with people, we can establish trust to exercise “loving correction.”
Jesus was not correcting the boat-sinking waves and gale-force winds with gentleness… he was rebuking them. But, He uses the mighty weapon of “peace” to do it.
Isn’t that the opposite of warfare? Does it make sense to refer to peace as a weapon?
In the quiet, intimate time I spend with my Father in the mornings before work, He reveals to me much about His Word… because I ask Him to, and in that seeking He brings revelation. Today, I asked about this word “peace” and went on a treasure hunt for understanding. There are 21 different uses of this word throughout the Bible. In this particular story, the word is “siōpaō” [sē-ō-pä’-ō] in the Greek; it means “involuntary muteness, stillness, or inability to speak.” Then Jesus says, “be still.” This phrase is “phimoō” [fē-mo’-ō] meaning “to close the mouth with a muzzle, to make speechless, reduce to silence.”
So, this passage could read, “He awoke and with sharp criticism, silenced the storm by commanding it to involuntary stillness. And the storm obeyed.” Jesus is giving us a visual instruction manual on how to take control over the storms that come our way. Our attitude and focus when we get blindsided by life events that cause metaphorical wind, waves, and fear is CRUCIAL. That is why David says in Psalms 16:8: “I will set the Lord continually before me” [NASB]. If He is our focus and we intentionally place Him as our first priority, above all other things, we can obtain peace in the storms.
Storms are bad. Life can be very hard. Waves will determine to sink our “fragile boats.” Winds will resolve to throw us off course. We will become physically and emotionally exhausted.
I love this quote:
“In the chemistry of the cross God takes things that, in and of themselves, are bad, and He puts them together, much as a chemist might take chemicals that, in and of themselves, may be deleterious and mixes them to make a medicine that brings healing.
Many of us have some salt with our meals. Table salt is made up of both sodium and chloride. By itself, sodium is a deadly poison, and so is chloride. Put them together, and you have table salt. Salt flavors food, and a certain amount of salt is necessary for health and life. We cannot live without some salt in our systems.” -Adrian Rogers
Storms, by themselves, can kill us. But with the authority and power of God, we can muzzle the roaring of even the loudest storms. We must learn to depend on Him in us to calm the tossing, tumultuous, unexpected, exhausting circumstances life can bring. Peace in our Spirit is always available in our circumstances. Paul says in Philippians 4:12, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength;” and Romans 8:11 says, “…His Spirit dwells inside of you.”
I choose to believe that… do you?