Hope, Healing & Freedom Podcast: Episode 68
Peace in the Midst of the Storm
There is no question that our world is in a state of turmoil. The world events of the past days have gripped all of us. The senseless killing of innocent babies, children, families, and the elderly are horrific events. In times of war there is “collateral damage” of innocent civilians, but what we have witnessed is intentional, targeted attacks on the innocent. So, how do we navigate our own emotions, thoughts and feelings? As believers how do we hold on to hope and live in peace?
This is Cindi Whitman with Restoring the Foundations International. Today, we are talking about finding peace in the midst of the storm. Certainly, our world is in the midst of a storm, but you might also be facing a personal storm. Possibly your storm is financial? Maybe your relationship with your spouse is on the rocks? Maybe you have a child who is making decisions that you know are not of God’s plan for their life? Maybe you are facing a health crisis for yourself or your family. Personal crises added to the crisis in the world can be a heavy load. It can feel like there is no hope. It can be overwhelming. It can affect your spirit, soul, and body.
Different people respond differently, but it affects all of us in some way.
When we are in the midst of a storm, it is an easy place for the enemy to attack our thoughts. He likes to put thoughts in our minds of hopelessness. For example, “It’s never going to get better.” or “Things are always going to be the same.” “I might as well just give up because nothing I do changes the situation.” When we meditate on and agree with these lies, we open a door for our enemy, satan, to traffic in our lives.
Let’s start with the horrific situation in our world today. Our beloved Israel is under attack. There is a rise in anti-semitic hatred. Hatred of the Jewish people is rampant. People are being annihilated or held hostage thousands of miles away from us. When you watch the news and listen to the reports via YouTube and social media it is easy to allow fear, anxiety, and hopelessness to take hold in your heart. It “feels like” there is nothing we can do. It “feels like” God isn’t doing anything to stop the terror attacks. These are all lies that satan wants us to believe.
What about if you’re in a personal crisis? You or a family member is in the midst of a health crisis. The reports from the medical people aren’t good. You may feel like there is no hope.
Maybe your personal crisis is financial. It seems that no matter what you do there is never enough money. Do you feel like you will always struggle financially? You are just doomed to go from paycheck to paycheck?
What about the child who is in rebellion? The prodigals that have left home and are going against everything their parents taught them? Do you feel like a failure? Do you feel like it’s your fault?
All the above situations are real and are ones that many of us are facing.
In John 16:33 Jesus gives us hope.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
So, tribulation is part of life. Trials are going to happen even in our lives as believers. However, we can have peace in the middle of the trial or tribulation.
Ok, let’s be real. So, there is a lie that is inadvertently purported in the church that says, “Christians don’t have problems.” If you believe that lie, then you must pretend, and you can’t be honest with others about your struggle. I know that in my home growing up it was a belief that Christians don’t have marital problems. Marriage counseling wasn’t an option. That lie kept many couples from getting the help that they needed. The family was affected by the parent’s poor relationship, and basically, satan won. If we believe that Jesus speaks the truth, which we do, then he says that we can have peace amid tribulation. So, how do we do it?
I’m reminded of a situation that happened when our children were young. Our boys were 18 months old and 3 years old. We were on a small boat on a mountain lake in Colorado with my parents. We were enjoying the beauty of the surroundings. It was a spectacular day to enjoy God’s creation. One of the things that you learn growing up in Colorado is that the weather can turn very quickly. We were in a valley with mountains surrounding us. We weren’t paying much attention to the clouds gathering miles away. All of a sudden, the wind began to blow lightly. However, the wind grew stronger, and the rain began coming down. We were in the middle of this large lake. Quickly, my dad put the canvas top up on the boat. The wind began tossing the boat side to side. The waves were splashing up over the side of the boat. It was a tenuous situation. The waves were so large that it was difficult for us to navigate them to get to shore. Finally, we decided just to stay put and “ride it out”. I have to admit that I was gripped with fear. I knew that this could have a bad outcome. I was holding our 18-month-old son, Michael in my arms. The wind was whipping around. The boat was rocking. The rain was pelting hard against the canvas top. I looked down at Michael, and he was sound asleep. That picture has always stuck with me as what it looks like to be at peace in the midst of a storm. He was not worried. He was not fretting. He leaned back in my arms and was peacefully sleeping while the storm raged around him. He was unaware of the danger and the outward circumstances didn’t affect him. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to do that in the midst of a crisis? The reality is we can.
And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (ESV)
You probably know this story well. Jesus had been ministering and then he went off to pray. He told the disciples to get in the boat. Quickly, the wind came up on the Sea of Galilee, abbbbbbbbbnd they were taken away from the shore. The storm was much like I described above. The disciples were afraid. Then they saw Jesus coming toward them walking on the water. They didn’t recognize Jesus. In fact, they thought he was a ghost.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got out of the boat, walked on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Peter was the one to boldly ask Jesus a question. As Peter stepped onto the water he walked towards Jesus. But when he took his eyes off Jesus he began to sink. He began looking at the size of the waves and lost the confidence he had while looking at Jesus.
And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (ESV)
This is our first key to living in peace in the midst of the storm.
- Key #1 – Keep our eyes on Jesus.
Nothing that is happening in this world today personally or in the larger context has been a surprise to God. As my mother-in-law used to often say, “God is still on the throne.” We don’t have to understand the WHY things happen. We can give up the right to demand that God explain things to us and we can decide to trust him. Peter sometimes gets a bad rap for taking his eyes off Jesus and sinking but Peter was the only one that was courageous enough to get out of the boat and the only one on record that walked on the water. So, during a crisis, the first thing to do is to keep focused on Jesus. As you “walk on the water” you will experience peace as you keep your eyes on Jesus.
Remember the old hymn, Turn your eyes upon Jesus?
Part of the song goes like this:
“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” by Helen Lemmel
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in his wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim.
In the light of his glory and grace!
When we turn our eyes on Jesus and not on the size of the waves in life, we get His perspective. He is right there with us in the midst of the storm, and He is encouraging us to come to Him.
Another story that comes to mind that gives us a key to having peace in the midst of the storm is found in Acts 16:16-40. The full scripture is in the text of the podcast if you want to read it in full.
22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
It is the story of Paul and Silas getting thrown in prison. They were beaten, flogged, and chained. I’d say that it was a really bad day and a really big storm. However, instead of being overcome by their circumstances Paul and Silas began praying and singing worship songs in the prison. The result of their prayer and worship was an earthquake that broke their chains. Interestingly, they opted not to run out of the prison immediately. Their “storm” was the catalyst that caused fellow inmates and the jailer and his family to accept Jesus. When we navigate our storms with worship and prayer it opens the gate for God to work in our lives and in the lives of others.
Key #2 Pray and Worship in the midst of your storm.
I try to make it a “rule” that if I watch an hour of news I worship and pray for an hour. If we marinate in the negative news hours at the time we will be filled with fear, anxiety, and hopelessness. We must worship and pray to regain the right perspective.
What is God saying about your personal crisis? Or about the world’s crisis? Many are saying that this is the end time. I don’t know if they are right or not, but I have read Revelation and I know that we win in the end! I try not to focus on the maybes. The reality is if this is the end of times then if our hearts are submitted to Him and we’re walking according to His word the best we know how to do then we’re going to be okay. It doesn’t mean that we won’t face trials, but we know that just like with Peter, Jesus is walking toward us if we will just take His hand and trust Him.
So, in your personal crisis. What are you believing about it? Do your beliefs line up with what God would say? If you don’t know, ask Him. I’ll give you a hint. If there is any hopelessness or unbelief in your thinking then it doesn’t agree with God’s nature, character, and Word.
When you identify the lies, you’re believing then get out your RTF ministry card. Forgive those involved in helping you believe the lies. Come out of agreement with the lies and ask God what is His truth? What does He want you to know about your situation? He will fill you with truth. His truth is higher than the facts of your situation. Whether it is about the world crisis or your personal crisis He has an answer, and it is always filled with hope!
Key #3 Stand on what God has said and DECLARE IT!
Finally, we have to acknowledge when we are partnering with fear and anxiety. Fear and anxiety have no place in our lives unless we give it to them! The spirit of fear is rampant right now. We have to intentionally evict the spirit of fear and anxiety out of our lives. Refuse to succumb to his relentless onslaught of thoughts. That’s why taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ is so important for each of us!
Key #4 Eradicate fear and anxiety out of your life!
Put on your worship music and let it soak into you throughout the day. Turn your focus on Jesus (it requires an intentional act) and trust that He is always with you and he will never leave you alone. Declare the promises of God over our nation, over our world, and over your own personal storm. Keep pressing. Keep praying. Keep declaring! Keep worshiping until the shackles are broken off and the waves cease!
So, in conclusion:
The Keys to finding Peace in the Midst of the Storm
- Keep your eyes focused on Jesus. Remember John 14:33 “in me you will have peace” We need to abide in him.
- Worship and pray during the storm – the shackles will break, and the wind will cease
- Stand on what God has said and declare it! Watch God work!
- Refuse to partner with the spirit of fear and anxiety!
Lord, I thank you that you are in the midst of the storm with me. I am not alone. Will you forgive me for partnering with fear and anxiety? Lord, I ask that you would clearly speak to me and show me your truth. Surround me with your presence and give me your perspective. Lord, I ask for the intentionality, courage, and determination to not partner with satan in any way. I invite and embrace your peace to overtake me regardless of my outward circumstances. Help me abide in you and rest in your arms as the storm rages. I trust you Lord to cause the wind and waves to cease and the shackles to break off. I am safe with you no matter what may come!
Declaration: I declare that I am safe in the arms of Jesus. I trust Him to lead and guide me every step as I submit to Him.
We will soon be releasing a recorded ministry session on Overcoming Fear and Anxiety. It will be available in the Online Store at: www.restoringthefoundations.org.