They come in all shapes and sizes. And, here lately they seem to be springing up non-stop on every hand.
An oil rig in the gulf catches on fire and collapses, leaking over 200,000 gallons of crude oil out daily into the waters and ruining the offshore fishing industry. A mile-wide tornado rips through several states, staying on the ground for over 150 miles, causing great destruction and numerous deaths. A car, loaded with explosive material, thankfully malfunctions in Times Square, likely sparing hundreds of lives and injuries.
Yes, storms come in all shapes and sizes—whether literally or figuratively.
That’s why so many are seeking peace-of-mind through drink and drugs (both legal and illegal). Others seek it through exotic getaways or illicit love affairs.
But, they can’t find it. . .simply because they’re looking in all the wrong places.
It’s no accident that promised, “Anointed One from God”—known as the Messiah in the Old Testament and “the Christ” in the New Testament—would be called “The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). And, it’s no wonder that Jesus, Who fulfilled that prophetic expectation, once calmed the winds and waves on the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:39) and told His disciples that He would give them (and all who believe) a “peace unlike anything the world has to offer—and that’s why they should not be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27).
The Apostle Paul, who became a follower of Christ and the most prolific writer of the New Testament (writing 13 of its 27 books), met the Risen Lord one day as he traveled toward Damascus to arrest some members of that born-again “cult” called “Christians” (Acts 9:1-9). That encounter totally changed his life and he spent the rest of his life preaching and defending the very Message he once condemned.
While enroute to appear before Caesar, Paul and his 275 companions encountered a fierce storm, fueled by Euroclydon or typhoon-gale winds (Acts 27:14). Soon their wooden boat, which may have measured around 180’x45’, was being driven across the Adriatic Sea at breakneck speeds. They began throwing some of their cargo overboard and even part of the ship’s tackling, but it still seemed all hope of their being saved was lost (vv.18-20).
Yet, after numerous days of not being able to see the sun or stars, Paul stood up in the midst of the seasick sailors and said “Be of good cheer. Don’t be afraid—for this night an angel of the Lord has appeared to me and we’re all going to be saved. The ship’s going to be wrecked, but we’ll all wash ashore alive on a certain island” (vv.22-26).
Later on, as they neared the barrier reef surrounding some unknown island, they threw “four anchors out of the stern and hoped for the day” as the water became shallower and shallower (vv.27-29). Yet, Paul stood up and said “Don’t worry! Not a single hair from your head will be lost; so, let’s get something to eat and give thanks to God”—which they did (vv.33-36).
Now, the question is “How could Paul have such exuberant peace in some hopeless conditions?” The answer is found in vv.23-25: “I know Whose I am and Whom I serve. I believe God that it shall be even as it was told me by an angel of the Lord this night.”
Simply put, he was demonstrating childlike faith in “Who God is and what He has promised” (Hebrews 11:6). Like the unnamed sailors in Psalm 107:26-27 who “mounted up to the heavens and descended again to the depths, their soul melting within them because of their trouble—and like those who reeled to and fro, staggering like a drunken man at wit’s end”—Paul knew what to do: “Cry out to God in the storm” (Ps. 107:28a) and know that He’ll “hear, make the storm a calm and bring them to their desired haven” (vv.28b-30).
And, dear Reader, this same “God of the Storm” still specializes in giving “peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) to all those who trust in Him. No need for pills, prescriptions or potions; His Presence and Promises are enough (Heb. 6:18-19).
Here’s hoping you have His Peace, dear Reader. If not, He’s only a prayer away. Cry out to Him, always remembering He still makes house calls and knows right where you are and what you need. He’ll hear and answer you.
(NOTE: If you’d like to contact Bro. Tom or receive his daily e-mail devotional, entitled “Morning Manna,” you can write him at P.O. Box 582, Coushatta, LA 71019 or e-mail him at email@example.com).