Peace .. and Joy .. in the Storm
I really, personally, owe my enjoyment of that to my Mom, who stood before our front windows when I was just an infant, holding me in her arms, and showing me the "pretty lights in the sky" ... despite the fact that she was scared silly. She didn't want me or my brother to grow up with the same fear.
We didn't. Thanks, Mom.
Anyway, a couple of dominant thoughts echoed around my brain, during the storm. One thought was a remembrance of a Mission Trip to Winfield Missouri, during which we went, one evening, to a boys' prison, our youth choir performing for the young men and the guards. I was out on the front porch while a huge thunderstorm was raging, as there was not a lot of room inside the hall. During the storm, another of our men went inside and came back out a few minutes later, thunderstruck (pardon the pun); he was awed that the storm was raging so strongly outside, but when he went inside, there was such peace there, as our kids ministered.
The presence of the Spirit, he reckoned.
The other thought that hit me was Jesus' episode of calming the storm while the Apostles were scared silly in the boat. When I thought of that, I said to Peg "Can you imagine Someone in sandals and a robe, walking out here on the porch, saying "Peace ... be still!", and the storm stopping just like that!?!?
I then said "What a Savior we serve", and no sooner were the words out of my mouth, than an indescribable wave of joy swept over me. I got this huge grin I just couldn't shake, and I sat there and reveled in it for 5 minutes or so.
He said He'd give us peace "that passes understanding", and joy "indescribable". And those words mean what they say; no watered-down alternate meanings involved. Since I don't think He forces us to be peaceful and joyful, I'm guessing we have to decide that's what we want to be.
Now, I'm reluctant to attach any "cause & effect" relationship to what God has done for us .. how He has blessed us .. as I just want to attribute His blessings to His love for us. But if I had to guess at something in our lives that God has smiled on so generously, it's that we have simply believed God. We believe Him. If He says it, that settles it. And there's nothing mysterious about that .. it's simply a decision that we will believe and trust Him, and act accordingly. And, as we want an abundant life, we'll act in accordance with Jesus' commands and teachings, too (to the extent that our sinful old flesh will allow).
So. What storms are facing you? What's interrupting your peace and joy? Don't settle for less than He offers us .. if you do, chances are you'll get even less than you settled for.