, What does peace mean to you? Without question, peace, strength, and help are probably three of the most common things prayed for in our lives. It may be worded in a different way or have another name to it, but what it comes down to is, one of these things being needed. Troubles and trials in this life are a common thread among everyone of us, and even promised to us by the Lord himself (John 16:33). When you ask for peace though, what are you truly praying for? In our text for today's note, we find Jesus and the Apostles during one of their many journeys. They lived a life on the move, following the direction and steps of Christ. When I consider a life of following Jesus I would like to picture a game of follow the leader. Not like I played when I was a child, where as the leader it was a challenge for you to go where no one could follow. Ducking under, jumping, over, or crawling through messes no one would dare to follow so you could be the winner. Much of my youth, I grew up on 300+ acres of thick woods and deep hollars, that is southern for shallow valleys by the way, and I can remember many a game that ended with crossing the creek in a not so safe way. That's not what I would like to picture when I consider following Jesus. I want to picture the perfect game with a perfect leader that only goes through green valleys and along the calm brook, and completely avoids the shadow of death. Often that is what we think would indicate a life lived for Jesus. However, if you follow the lives of the Apostles with Christ, we can learn better about the subject. They faced rejection, ridicule, and storms along the path that threatened their very lives. We find them in one of those situations here, the Apostles very much feared for their lives. After rowing and working and trying their best, they finally go to the Lord. Maybe they were going to seek His help. Maybe they went to Him to warn Him of the doom coming upon them. Either way, we can relate to them in that we tend to trust ourselves too long before going to our Lord. However, that is not my focus on this note.
We find here in this text two forms of peace. On the one side we find the form of peace most of us, and the world, want. The Apostles wanted the storm to still and the threat to pass. The reason for that is we tend to confuse peace with calm. The fact is, mostly when we cry out for peace, or seek peace, or pray for peace we pray that the problems of this world would leave and the sea would calm. I mean that is Jesus' response to them waking Him up, isn't it? He cries out "peace be still!" and all settles and they are at peace. I would love to tell you that is the biblical norm. However, if you look at the text and other texts when He does this, it is quickly followed with a reprimand. Our peace should not be based on worldly settings or the lack of storms. A peace built on a worldly setting is fickle at best. The second peace is exampled in Jesus. Now I know that we can not reach His level, but we can learn from Him and strive to better ourselves in those lessons. So, here is a man that seeks not to do his own will (John 6:38), but A man following the directions God sends him. He is indeed the perfect example in all ways. He knows that God has told him to go over to the other side and if God wants him there, he will help get him there. So this man gets on the ship and lays down, trusting in his God. Meanwhile, the storm begins to rage as it always will in this life. He finds his peace in his knowledge and faith in the God that directs him. True peace that passes understanding, as we are told in Scripture we can have, is not found in the world. It is found within us as we go through this world. When Jesus steps in and has to remove the problems of this world, it was not to give them peace. It was to show them where their faith lied and call out their weakness.
We serve a God that is able to overcome all the world's problems, permanently. That would be an awesome thing for sure. However, He works on a much more personal level than that. This world is sin cursed and full of trouble. God did not create it that way. God did not cause the issues or troubles. God is not obligated to fix them either. God does, however, promise to be with us as we go through this world. He tells us in Isaiah 43 that He knows us and calls us by our names. He promises that even if we pass through a flood, the water will not take us. When we travel through the fire, we will not be burned. Why is that? Because He is with us! Praise God and Amen. Let us strive to not find our peace in the world, in all its brokenness. Let us find our peace in the knowledge of a perfect God that loves us, carries us, never leaves or forsakes us, and promises us an eternal life beyond this world. When we find ourselves over taken by troubles and struggles, let us pray for peace. Don't look for the world to change though. Look for God to strengthen you. look for God to show you a path through the shadow of death. Look for God to speak to you in His word. Look for God to speak to you in the voice of a friend. Look for peace within and not without. God bless you all is my prayer.