Monday, 8 September 2008

Calm Down

And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. (Mark 4:39)

Just a word on these daily thoughts before I plough on. These come out about four times a week usually because I’ll release them on the same day that I send out the mail-shots to staff back at the YMCA. Usually the first paragraph will be the text that the mail-shot will consist of and if I have anything to add that will constitute the rest of the entry. The deal with these thoughts though and especially with the ability to blog them is that they are not limited to the emails and indeed not limited to only going out on the four days of the week. Hence this particular entry. This is not to guarantee that there will be ongoing Daily Thoughts for every single day. Hopefully, though, it is to let you know how this thing rolls.

So onto today’s daily thought and being a DT extra I can talk even more candidly than usual. I chuckle whenever I read the episode at the end of Mark 4. Chuckle because I can relate to the despair the disciples would have felt with the storm that they were enduring. Chuckle because in the middle of all that, the Lord and Saviour of mankind is having a kip in the boat. Now the peace connection here works in two ways.

Firstly chaos on the outside does not mean chaos on the inside.

One of the wonders of this episode is that Jesus can afford to be at peace. With the level of disruption on the boat you would have to really be at peace or a deep sleeper to be having a kip at the stern. What I would love to know is what it takes to be able to be at peace on the inside even when there’s chaos on the outside. Thankfully I’m given an idea as to why that is the case. It’s not just the fact of getting to the other side. It’s not just the fact that the mission you’re going on and its completion is not on a ship. I reckon it’s having such a relationship with your Father – the creator of the universe indeed – that there is an inability to be affected or distracted by circumstances on your one ultimate goal – to bring glory to your Father.

If that is so overwhelming and the underpinning value of life – right relationship and devotion to the Father – then that’s the basis on which all decisions are going to be made. So that level of interaction and dependence on the Father and a desire to make Him known brings great assurance. Don’t get me wrong though. I’m not being too spiritual, I reckon Jesus fell asleep because he was tired and He knew that His Father would give His beloved sleep, but that’s exactly my point. He knew His Father, so He could sleep in the middle of the storm.

Secondly chaos on the outside can be overcome when there’s peace on the inside.

Real peace – wholeness that affects all relationships – has to have the element of the supernatural. Why’s that? Well look at the effort that’s taking place with our natural efforts! It’s almost as though left to our own devices we will successfully run things to the ground – interpersonal relationships, international relations, relationship between man and nature itself. Surely if history has been screaming out one thing it’s that the change we need has to come from without and within. Surely we have to catch up with the reality that no amount of reasoning and emotion pulling is going to get us out of the mess we’re in.

Real peace – wholeness that affects all relationships – starts from knowing the creator of the universe. That knowledge equips us to face even the seemingly adversarial elements of nature. Most importantly of all that means that the chaos outside can be overcome by the peace we have with God.

Jesus’ whole mission showed that peace with God could overwhelm all the forces of chaos even as the darkness could never beat the light. Now by faith people whose lives were ruined by chaotic decisions, habits and external factors can look forward to victory in those areas. By faith relationships on the road to ruins have been rescued – families restored and blossoming – by faith in the Prince of Peace. This faith – this connection from within to the Father above – creates peace within that affects without. Not legislation, not education, not medication. Not intellect, not the best plans of man – the difference is made by accessing the peace within by faith and like Jesus being able to speak to the storms without and bring calm to the situation.

It’s no surprise really that we live in a world of noise. It’s almost as though there’s a fear that without the constant bombardment of noise we would be afraid of the haunting silence within. Yet what Jesus promises in calmness and stillness is the wonderful joyful sound of wholeness – of the elements of our lives sounding as they should. The harmonious music of life starts with that stillness that comes under the authority of the Father. My prayer today is that in all the chaos and noise that threatens the lives of many trying to make it across that they would experience the words that their Saviour has to say to them. That they would … that we would have such a peace on the inside that it could never be affected by the whining of the children, the moaning of our colleagues, the bills, the mortgage, taxes, crime, injustice. Instead may the peace that Jesus

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