One of my favorite paintings that I have ever come across is called "Peace Be Still" by a painter named Chris Hopkins. I remember the first time I saw it. I was in a christian book store looking for something and when I walked around a shelf, I looked up at this painting and absolutely stopped in my tracks. I stood there for several minutes before going to find my husband to show him the painting. I stood there and stared at the face of Jesus, then at the faces of the other people in the boat. This painting depicted the story of Jesus calming the storm, but instead of the 12 disciples in the boat, there were people from maybe today. Some women and men, who looked terrified, fearful, and hanging on for dear life. Then there was Jesus standing tall in the very front of the boat with his hand raised, a calm, yet authoritative look, that seemed filled with compassion as the wind was blowing his white robe. The storm was obviously strong as the boat was being lifted up on a high wave and the sail looked tattered. Each face was turned toward the sea in front of Jesus as if wondering what would happen. I stood completely and utterly enveloped by the emotion this painting captured. I wanted to buy this painting, but at the time I was but a poor graduate student and newly married. We were broke and barely able to pay bills. It cost way too much, but I have never forgotten this painting. I think it is because it spoke directly to me heart.
Jesus calms our storms.
In Mark chapter 4 we can read the story about the disciples and Jesus getting caught in a storm. Jesus was sound asleep and wasn't worried at all. The disciples woke him up as they trembled with fear from the severity of the storm. Jesus spoke to the storm, it calmed and then he questioned them as to why they were fearful and lacking in faith. You see, Jesus was in the boat with them. If they had understood exactly who he was at the time, they would not have had to fear. There was nothing going to be able to hurt or take Jesus' life until he was ready to lay it down on the cross. That storm may have come up and become quite menacing, but they were perfectly safe in the presence of Jesus. They were fearful and afraid and Jesus spoke to calm the storm. The bible says there was a great calm.
Mark 4:39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.
Jesus speaks to our storms when we come to him and trust him even in the most menacing of circumstances. I can count many times when storms have risen in my life and when I cried out to Jesus, he spoke to the storm. He brought peace either to the circumstances or to my heart. I could be at peace even when the storm raged. The word peace is actually mentioned 397 times in the New King James Version. It is used often to speak of peace offerings, making peace, living peaceably and when God gives peace.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Peace comes from God in times when we should not have peace. Peace is a gift and a sense of knowing that God is with you and taking care of you even when it seems overwhelming. I remember when my son was born. I remember feeling completely overwhelmed as his birth turned into a traumatic moment. His heart rate kept dropping, the midwife became very concerned and after several attempts, pulled him from the womb. He was limp and blue, and we quickly realized he had a cleft lip. As fear gripped our hearts, the NICU team grabbed his little body to work on bringing life to my little boy. My mom, husband and I breathed prayers as tears flowed. Soon we heard the little cries from our little boy. They told us they were taking him the NICU and would test his cord blood to determine how much oxygen he had been getting. They were concerned that he had been oxygen deprived and may possibly have brain damage. My soul cried to God. I remember asking God to let my little boy be ok and heal him. After taking care of me for a couple of hours, they finally put me in a wheelchair and I got to go see my little baby boy. The doctor that was in charge of him said his oxygen came back just fine and he was perfectly healthy. We would need to meet with the cleft palate team and figure out feeding issues. He would be facing surgeries, but he was fine. God was with us. He heard our prayers and we knew God had answered.
There have been many prayers over my little boy. As I had to calm him before a surgery and after, as we heard bad news about the success of a surgery, as we found out he had a cholesteotoma growing in his ear, God has been faithful. Each time, I have cried to God for peace and help through the storm, He has answered.
Today, my little boy is trusting God for himself. He has determined that God is going to heal his soft palate. He has told the surgeon that he is waiting for God to heal and he will not do the invasive surgery again. God is moving and there is a healing in the process.
Having a deficient soft palate does not allow the palate to close properly during speech and even during eating. My little boy has had some difficulty with saying certain sounds and with food sometimes leaking into his nose. One thing he has always wanted to do, but couldn't, was whistle. He could not get the palate to close and get the air to flow for him to whistle. He was prayed for one Sunday in June by our church and he continues to pray every night for God's healing. He thanks God every night for his healing. After that prayer at church, the next day, he realized he could get out a little whistle. It was airy and rough, but it was a whistle. He was so excited. Then in July, he went up for prayer again. As we were driving in the car after service, we heard a loud clear whistle coming from the back seat. We thought it was our daughter. My son said, "I whistled!" We had to turn around and watch him whistle in amazement!!! He could whistle so clear and loud. He began laughing and smiling. We can't get enough. He walks around and every so often, he just has to let out a whistle. While that may seem small and trivial, it is a promise of healing to my little boy. He has asked and determined that God will heal him in the midst of a great storm in his life. He is asking for the impossible and believing that with God all things are possible. He has a peace from God that reigns in his heart. I have found that as I pray for him, I am finding that same peace. I realize that Jesus has spoken peace to the storm and to our hearts. The doctor may think we are crazy and many other people may think so too, but peace spoken by Jesus says, "Trust in me to heal."
I have felt peace in many times that fear should have been there. Jesus speaks peace. When we face storms in life, we can pray and talk to the Peace-speaker. We can trust Him to say, "Peace, be still!" and know that peace will be there even when it seems impossible.