The Peace of Presence
The Lake of Galilee was notorious for its shattering and terrifying sudden storms that came out of the blue. We are told that, in these boats the place for any distinguished stranger is on the little seat placed at the stern, where a carpet and cushion are arranged. This is where Jesus sat. It is interesting to note that the words that Jesus addressed to the wind and the waves are exactly the same words as he addressed to the demon-possessed man in Mark 1:15. Just as an evil demon possessed that man, so the destructive power of the storm was, as people in Palestine believed in those days, the evil power of the demons at work in the realm of nature.
We do this story far less than justice if we merely take it in a literalistic sense. If this describes simply a physical miracle in which an actual storm was stilled, it is a very wonderful story, and it is something about which we read and at which we marvel, but nonetheless it is something which happened once and which cannot happen again. In that case it is quite external to us. But if we read it in a symbolic sense it is far more valuable. Once they knew He was there, there was a calm, fearless peace in their hearts no matter what any storm was like. To voyage with Jesus was to voyage in peace even in a storm. Now that is universally true. That is not something which happened once; it is something which still happens and which can happen to us. In the presence of Jesus, we can have peace in even the wildest storms of life.
He gives us peace:
- in the storm of sorrow.
- when life’s problems involve us in a tempest of doubt and tension and uncertainty.
- in the storms of anxiety which can attack this life. The enemy of peace is worry.
Penguin Uniting Church