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Jesus: the eternal God who gives peace in even the worst storms

July 22, 2023

Daily Scripture

Psalm 89:8-9, John 14:27, 16:33

Psalm 89
8 Who is like you, LORD God of heavenly forces?
Mighty LORD, your faithfulness surrounds you!
9 You rule over the surging sea:
When its waves rise up,
it’s you who makes them still.

John 14
27 “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid.

John 16
33 I’ve said these things to you so that you will have peace in me. In the world you have distress. But be encouraged! I have conquered the world.”

Daily Reflection & Prayer

We don’t always think of it this way (much religious imagery over centuries has softened it), but Jesus faced the most horrible “storm” possible. The Roman Empire executed him in a degrading, painful, humiliating way (cf. Luke 22:44, Mark 15:16-20, John 19:1-7, Luke 23:35-38). We may know Mark 15:34 said that on the cross, Jesus quoted Psalm 22:1: “Jesus cried out with a loud shout, ‘Eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani,’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you left me?’” But that same Psalm 22 ended in triumph: “Future descendants will serve him; generations to come will be told about my Lord. They will proclaim God’s righteousness to those not yet born, telling them what God has done.” On the eve of that awful execution, Jesus said his peace had “conquered the world.” Even in that “storm,” a hardened Roman centurion could see that peace: “When the centurion, who stood facing Jesus, saw how he died, he said, ‘This man was certainly God’s Son’” (Mark 15:39).

  • Madeleine l’Engle said many resist Christianity because it is “too wild and free for the timid. How many of us really want life, life more abundant…. life which does not promise the absence of pain, or love which is not vulnerable and open to hurt?” * Scholar Alister McGrath said in Jesus’ death we see that God doesn’t always stop storms right away yet is still with us: “Many Christians are confused and upset because they do not experience God as present and active in the world. Imagine… the disciples on that first Good Friday…. hoping for a miracle. Yet there seemed to be no trace of God’s presence or activity at Calvary…. Jesus died…. Those around the cross didn’t experience God’s presence, so they concluded he was absent. The resurrection overturned that judgment: God was present in a hidden manner.” ** What are your reasons for choosing a life “which does not promise the absence of pain” but does promise peace even when storms blow?

Lord Jesus, your servant Paul wrote about “the peace of God that exceeds all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). Give me that peace even when my understanding cannot process the “storm” I or those I love are facing. Amen

GPS Insights

Picture of Leah Swank-Miller

Leah Swank-Miller

Leah Swank-Miller is Director of Student Ministries at Resurrection Overland Park. A Kansas native, she has been a professional actress for nearly two decades, and she loves to see the vastness of God’s creation through theatre and the arts. Leah is pursuing an M.Div. from Saint Paul School of Theology. Leah, Brian, and their two children love to play tennis, golf, soccer, and board games.

In theatre, actors engage in warms ups before shows and performances. Just like an athlete might warm up with calisthenics or stretches before a game, an actor will mentally warm up with improv and word play that engages the mind and heart. Our goal, as performers, is to become more present with one another once we “hit the stage.” An actor will create a scene through dialogue and their partner will continue that unscripted scene by saying, “yes, and…” The key is to keep listening to your partner. Instead of stopping the flow of conversation with your own agenda, one continues the dialogue with encouragement and acceptance. When an actor is fully engaged in a scene the show runs more smoothly and anxious nerves subside. We call this “acting in the zone,” but it could also be referred to as “peace of mind in motion.”

When you commit to the language and the SPIRIT of “Yes, and…”, it becomes harder to add in a sneaky “but” or completely switch topics. At all costs, one should avoid responses like “Yes, but …,” “Yes, however,” etc. And by forcing yourself to literally say the words, you stand a better chance of following through with the spirit of this trust exercise.

When Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid,” He was inviting us to trust Him in His narrative, His dialogue. His peace, that passes all understanding, allows us, not to exist in this world without fears or anxieties, but to know how to endure them. Yet when we lose sight of His peace we say “yes, BUT I can’t forgive them” or “yes, BUT how can I love someone I disagree with so greatly?” We close off the dialogue with the Holy Spirit and become a stumbling block to ourselves and those around us.

I wonder if when we engage with one another and with Jesus we can to do it with a “yes and” mentality and become fully present. When life gets scary and we feel the weight of the world on our shoulders we can trust our scene partner, the Holy Spirit. Because the peace that passes all understanding says “yes, and…I am with you.”

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Madeleine l’Engle, Walking on Water (p. 40). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
** Alister McGrath, I Believe: Exploring the Apostles’ Creed. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 1997, pp. 68-69.