Uncommon Peace in Troubled Times

jesus-calms-the-stormA dear brother in Christ who lives in Louisiana named Ken Burgess, posted the following on his Facebook:

“Mariners and oceanographers have known for a long time that no matter how rough the seas or how high the waves get the water just 10 feet below the surface of the trough is completely calm. We spend the majority of our time at the top of the waves during the rough seas of life. That is where the struggle is. It is also where the, ‘seaworthiness,’ and/or weaknesses of a vessel are discovered. The weaknesses can sometimes have disastrous results. We are to remain in HIM at all times. Just 10 feet below the surface of the raging storms of life where it is perfectly calm. A submarine spends the majority of its time below the surface of the oceans of the world and the sailors are unaware of surface conditions even during the worst storms with the highest waves unless the captain surfaces. A wise captain will not risk his boat or his crew in those type of conditions. Jesus is our wise captain. HE did one of three things during stormy weather that was kicking up the waves. HE slept. HE rebuked the storm and spoke peace to the wind and waves. And HE walked on the water. It is our choice to make.”

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let now your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” JESUS: John 14:27

 

I, Michael, after spending years at sea, myself, know first hand about wave action. One time I was on an aircraft carrier in the edge of a typhoon and waves were coming over the flight deck  which was normally 90 feet above sea level! It was a wild time, but the submarines that were escorting our group were safe under the surface.

True peace and faith go hand in hand. And God allows situations to come into our lives so our faith can be tried as it was with the disciples on the sea of Galilee on that stormy night. Peter wrote,

 

[The elect] are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In which you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold trials: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: (1 Peter 1:5-7 KJ2000)

I felt led to  look up each Greek word in this verse from John fourteen which Ken shared and it is interesting that the word translated “troubled” in the Greek means “roiled up” as in troubled waters on the sea. Jesus gives His peace and specifies that it is superior to the peace that the world gives. If the world (kosmos– or world system) gives “peace” it is totally conditional and is often armed neutrality at best and is a war that is just waiting for the right conditions to break out again. We are seeing this kind of “peace” all over the world where ethnic violence is only suppressed by militaristic dictators and more recent they are getting involved in “ethnic cleansing” themselves! Jeremiah saw this day when He said,

 

For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them everyone is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest everyone deals falsely. They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people lightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. (Jeremiah 6:13-14 KJ2000)


But the peace that Christ sends us forth with (the meaning of His words “my peace I give unto you”) is deep and not subject to the superficial roiling of the world around us. His peace settled deep into our spirits out of reach of all things temporal. I often think of Paul and Barnabas in that dark Philippian dungeon with their backs split open from a flogging, and their feet bound in stocks awaiting further sentencing and what were they doing? Singing praises unto the Lord! (How many Christians in America do you know that would be doing THAT under such circumstances?) Paul and Barnabas  went forth with Christ’s peace in their hearts, peace that surpasses all reasonable understanding, and they were more than overcomers as they abode IN Him. And, as we know from the story, Jesus came down and inhabited their praises and the will of the kosmos gave way to the will of its Creator (see Acts Acts ch. 16).

In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. Open the gates, that the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in. You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever: for in the LORD GOD is everlasting strength: For he brings down them that dwell on high; the lofty city, he lays it low; he lays it low, even to the ground; he brings it even to the dust.  (Isaiah 26:1-5 KJ2000 – emphasis added)

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20 comments on “Uncommon Peace in Troubled Times

  1. g says:

    sooooo true….we rest in Him and are led forth in peace while th world is driven by th spirit of this world…

    years ago th Lord gave me a vision…i was standi g under deep water…way up over my head…and i was talkin to th Lord about how deep th water was…then it hit me that i was talkin under that water and not drownin…He said He is wit me always and that water was His Word …i was immersed…He told me i was in th deeps of God as it were and completely safe…in Him…

    u know He also showed me where its wriiten that we cant fathom His depths….a fathom is a measure…and truly He is without measre…

    really loved this post…

    Like

    • G,
      Thanks for sharing this! You are bring up something very important here that you saw in that dream. We art to be immersed in the depths of Jesus Christ Himself! We inhale the Word and breath out His truth. This was what Paul was writing about when he said, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized (Grk. Baptizo – immersed) into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried, therefore, with him by baptism (immersion) into His death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3-4 RSVA). Yes, if we are truly born from above by the Spirit of God, we are both immersed into Jesus in His death and we are also immersed in Him in His resurrection Life. I am not talking about a sacrament, here, but a spiritual reality. Water baptism should be an outward sign of an inward spiritual reality, not an act of sacerdotalism.

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      • g says:

        i also wanna encourage my fam…years ago when i waz goin thru stuff…heard some religious folk and i say to th Lord how i wasnt “suffering” th “right way” …i was repenting my lack of faith…but th Lord said to me…do u think paul cried out when he was beaten with rods? and immediately He filled me with peace…He taught me th difference btwn those who worship hardship as some sign of gr8 faith and those who have only Christ to trust in…

        He also taught me that He doesnt use sin as a teacher but only Christ is our teacher and He is without sin…

        th world is in sin and we all are in th world …we suffer afflictions the unrighteous suffer…not bc God brings them to teach us…an certainly not did th Father use sin to teach th blameless sinless Christ obedience…He learned obedience in suffering…but thats not th same as sufferinfg TO LEARN obedience…th Lord told me He remained ibedient even enduring ….which is what suffering is…endurance…Jesus Christ is th Son of God and never waivered or sinned and was blameless…

        suffering has an all too human connotation…so we dont see it as endurance we see it as injury…

        we endure bc of Christ in us…bc He makes us to endure as He makes us disciples…as He makes us belivers…as He makes us…bc He is th creator and we are th workmanship of His hands…

        it is v different in Christ bc tho we are afflicted wit th same as th world we dont mourn as they mourn…we have a better covenant…we have Christ in us our comforter…

        its sad when ppl speak of th how to of suffering…as tho there is some way other than Christ…i have heard ppl condemned bc tber lack of faith kept em in a wheelchair or into foreclosure…i see th same thang when suffering takes on a life of its own and becomes a doctrine with how tos and expected behaviors…

        do u think paul cried out when he waz beaten with rods?

        i know i would…i have no need to pretend otherwise..but i also know my Lord is with me always and however my faith is perceived from th outside…i am what i am by th grace of God…

        suffering is endurance…there may or may not be injury or some physical unpleasantness to it…but we who are in Christ endure by His strength alone…not as a species of superhumans who after time are insensible to human stuff..

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  2. kenneth dawson says:

    well if there is one thing I have learned in my 39 years of knowing Christ it is that he knows how to run my life a whole lot better then I do–I love that picture of the boat in the storm–I posted it up on my screen as my wall paper–thanks

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    • Kenneth, you are welcome. I once asked the Lord how He could be asleep in the boat (seemingly indifferent to the storm) while the disciples were freaking out and fighting against it, saying to Him, “Don’t you care that we perish?” He told me it was because He heard the Father say, “Get into the boat and go to the other side of the lake.” God did not say, “Get in the boat, go out into the middle of the lake and drown.” Oh, how important it is to be in-tune with the direction of the Spirit in hour we are in and to know our Shepherd’s voice.

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  3. Ron Shaw says:

    Thanks Michael. Very much appreciated and timely

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  4. May the Lord keep us all continually in His wonderful and deep peace.

    Hello Michael the Navigator 😉 ,

    What a meaningful exposition by Ken Burgess which perfectly describes how God works His peace in us. Thinking about it – combined with your mentioning of Paul in the dungeon – I was reminded of that part of his letter to the Ephesians where he wrote about the unity of the Body and how it ought to be maintained.

    “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” ((Eph 4:1-3 ESV)

    You wrote, “True peace and faith go hand in hand.”

    Exactly! And the bond of peace is God’s LOVE. Thus love knits our hearts together in Him who could sleep peacefully during the storm. Obviously, Jesus’ disciples didn’t know this overwhelming peace at that time because their faith was so wavering (Mt 8:26). But later they were enabled to enjoy Jesus’ resurrection power which gives us His peace, His joy, and His love.
    Perhaps it sounds a bit simple, however, with this in mind I believe that true unity of His Body outside of love can be no unity at all, even if it seems from the outside as if a group of believers would agree on certain matters of faith.

    Love you always in HIM, my brother,

    Susanne

    PS
    Another thought on this.
    If we abide in Christ, we will welcome troubled waters, since knowing Him means being within the eye of the storm…

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    • Susanne, the further I am drawn INTO our Lord by His love, the more I see the fruit of the Spirit spoken of in Galatians 5:22 & 23 are all facets of the same whole. They are not individual things that we can have a piece of here and there as we need that particular attribute. Like someone pointed out is says “fruit” not “fruits.” As we abide in Christ and not ourselves all these things; love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control are ours, because they are who HE is. So, I no longer pray, “Lord, give me patience, love, faith, etc.” But rather, “Lord, give me less of me and more of You.”

      Love you in HIM where all real love is found,
      Michael

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      • Michael,
        Indeed, that’s funny! I thought about the same things this morning as I was still lying in bed and praying. Initially, I was worrying about one, two, three, or four surgeries in the near future, but suddenly I was overwhelmed by His love. “Oops!” I thought, “that’s not only love, it is His calming peace too…………….No, wait a moment…….. I am so happy……..This must be joy.” 🙂

        In His Spirit’s real love, your sister,
        Susanne

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  5. Pat Orr says:

    As usual, I feast on your writings and the replies to your post. My husband and I regularly sing from our collection of hymn books. Some of the books were copyrighted at least 70 years ago. I am amazed at the number of hymns that use sea and ship illustrations to describe spiritual truth. However, none had spoken of the calm found 10 feet below the surface. Thank you for the wisdom.

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    • Thanks, Pat. Your comment brings to mind this hymm’s lines:

      I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
      But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

      On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
      All other ground is sinking sand;
      All other ground is sinking sand.

      The frame spoken of here is the frame or rib of a ship where its strength against the storm lies. The navy gives them each a number from fore to aft and it makes locating things on the ship much easier. For instance, “second deck, port side, frame # 57.” A “sweetest frame” in the old English means the strongest frame on the ship, yet this mariner who wrote this hymn knew better than to put his trust in things temporal no matter how strong they are, but rather on the Rock, Jesus Christ alone.

      And he beheld them, and said, “What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” (Luke 20:17-18 KJ2000).

      I think that it is being ship-wrecked on and cast upon this ROCK that finally shows us where we can put our trust.

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      • Pat Orr says:

        Thank you for telling me what the “sweetest frame” is. While I love the song,”Christ the Solid rock”, my mind had no understanding of the meaning of sweetest frame. I thought that it was just poetic license. With your insight,now I have a picture. Before, when I would hear the singing of the song, it made me feel good, but now I have more substance to the truth put forth.

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  6. It is so true that the peace to which Ken and Michael speak here is not of this world. As Christians, not only do we have the certainty that we are not alone in our sufferings as God and others have shared them as well (Hebrews 2:18; 10:32, 33) and still do, we also have the peace of knowing beforehand what is to come. (Philippians 1:29, 30)(1 Peter 4:12, 13). The people of this world don’t have either of the above blessings, even if they are aware in a general sense that human beings do indeed suffer in this world.

    For Christians, there is also an additional blessing that is derived from the degree to which we believe what God actually says in relation to our sufferings. Each of us when facing sufferings has our “breaking point” and God knows exactly where that is. Obviously this can vary from day to day depending upon the degree that we are presently abiding in Him, but also based upon our trust and confidence in God that is developed over time like any other relationship. For some, a headache has them running to the medicine cabinet, for others any late bill has them borrowing money from friends and a sick child has them running to the emergency room at the hospital. Not only, but even before we whisper a simple prayer to our Father or seek Him for His direction in these matters. How different the child who knows these as a means to an end, God’s ends in teaching us a deeper dependence upon Him for all things.

    Ever notice that the more we become willing to suffer for Jesus the more serious our trials become? I’m not saying this is always the case, but it often is. God uses these sufferings to develop in us His character, which in turn lays a proper example of faith for others to follow.

    If I am viewing my sufferings as a problem, I will always attempt to avoid them or suppress them like those who do not know God. As such, I will never have peace until the suffering has ceased. But if I really believe what God has spoken, that the proof of my faith is more precious than gold in his sight, and that the testing of the reality of my faith is through various sufferings and difficulty, then my whole attitude toward suffering will change as will the turbulence in my heart and mind.

    The only way this cannot be true is this: If I’m still valuing what this world and its solutions may profit me more than I value the Person of Jesus Himself and the revelation thereof.

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    • Thanks, Michael F. Seeing suffering that crashes in upon our lives on this earth from a place INSIDE of Christ is so different from seeing and feeling it crash in upon us without Him. The latter seems so useless, purposeless and all consuming while the former drives us ever deeper INTO Him as our refuge and strength. The scripture has much to say about suffering in this present life and its benefits which you touch upon here. One of my favorite passages about this is in Hebrews:

      “Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them who are trained by it. Therefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.” (Hebrews 12:11-13 KJ2000)

      The chastisement of the Lord in our lives through sufferings has a goal and a purpose behind it. We are being trained unto godliness by our sufferings as we submit unto Him. Then the writer ends by saying, “Quit your whimpering and buck-up Bucko! Look beyond the suffering and see the needs of others around you and put your mind on helping them instead of yourself.” Paul put it this way,

      “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death works in us, but life in you.”
      (2 Corinthians 4:7-12 KJ2000)

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  7. Kristina says:

    Dear brothers and sisters,
    The encouragement and love expressed in this forum has been a blessing to me..thank all of you for sharing the love of Christ for all of us out here with no one physically to share the love of Jesus with..this particular topic of discussion was very timely for me and I am grateful that God uses us to help each other..though I know, I need to lean on Him and abide in Him completely..

    Michael F. wrote “Ever notice that the more we become willing to suffer for Jesus the more serious our trials become? I’m not saying this is always the case, but it often is. God uses these sufferings to develop in us His character, which in turn lays a proper example of faith for others to follow.”

    What you wrote pierced me brother..it’s only recently that I have turned to our Father through Jesus and have suffered more than I ever have..but, I see, for the first time, the beauty of suffering..I never saw suffering as anything good, I always avoided any kind of pain, I was always a timid people pleaser..never learned in church what the “fellowship of His sufferings” was all about..I see that God was preparing though over the years, to totally turn to Him, not be afraid of the consequences anymore and just trust Him..That has been a struggle for me to trust the Lord completely..I have held on to the temporal of what I can control, see, manipulate..it has scared me to let go, but praise God when I do, the peace that you all talk about is more precious than anything this world can offer..I feel lonely often, but not alone..Thank you brothers and sisters again for this beautiful reminder that suffering is something that God uses to transform us into the likeness of His Son..

    Love to you all in Christ,
    Kristina

    Like

    • Thanks for your kind words Kristina. Know that when we are called to rejoice in our sufferings like it says in James 1:2, this doesn’t mean we are walking around smiling because we are having so much fun in it, but rather because we know WHO is in it. Every Christian is in the process of adapting to this new way of viewing things, not just in our sufferings but indeed in all things.

      Everyone here would admit to being somewhere in this process, not one better than another, all equally sharing both are joys and sorrows. We all would commend you for being honest about your life with us, that’s something most professing believers take years to learn, let alone put into practice.

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      • Michael F,
        Your comment to our sister reminded me of those who survived a furnace that was seven times hotter than it should have been. When this world is going into melt-down around us we should look for something else, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the form of the fourth is like a son of the god.”(Daniel 3:25 KJ2000). Jesus is in it with us. Thanks, you too, for your sharing on here,

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      • Kristina says:

        Thank you again brother, I do know what you are saying about rejoicing in our sufferings isn’t about being happy about the process but being able to reach out to God in those moments (days, months, however long) and just trust Him..I remember not too long ago, just crying out to Him and begging Him to please take what it is in me that’s keeping me from having peace in Him..That moment was a turning point..I hated the pain at that moment, wanted it to go away..I know I am just beginning to understand and get it..I “got saved” at 8 years old, so I thought..I said the right prayer they told me to say, but never understood what it meant to really follow Jesus..I’m just really beginning to see the beauty and the cost, but the cost is so worth whatever I’ll lose in this life..I pray for strength to endure and pray that for all of us in this race to a better life one day, eternal life..God bless you all..

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  8. Mike Messer says:

    Great word from Ken and you Michael! Entering into the rest of our God, and abiding in His finished work, allows us to see our difficulties from His perspective. It is crucial to keep our eyes fixed on Him, knowing He has everything under control. There is no peace until we truly recognize this, and believe it with all our hearts!

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    • Mike,

      Thanks for the reminder about His rest. Yesterday I was driving around Houston on the beltways and arterials and it was hard for this small-town boy to not be anxious about the traffic. People down her all drive a minimum of ten to twenty over the speed limit and if you are not they are right on your bumper. I have yet to see a cop pull anyone over for a traffic violation… life in the big city. I think that abiding in God’s rest was easier back when we lived on farms and rode horses and told time by where the sun was in the sky instead of by micro-seconds. But God’s rest still remains for all who will enter in and I found that prayer helps getting me focused again on Him and not the situation which seems out of control. God warns us about the opposite of rest which he calls unbelief…

      “Let us therefore fear, lest, although a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them [the Hebrews in the wilderness]: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we who have believed do enter into rest… For he spoke in a certain place of the seventh day in this way, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works… Seeing therefore it remains that some must enter into it, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief… There remains therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”
      (Hebrews 4:1-11 KJ2000)

      Love you, my brother!

      Like

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