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Finding peace through the storms of life

Darren Woodward reflects that Jesus can bring peace to our lives, whatever storms we my face.

I love the sea, but as we walked along the beach at Rossbeigh, County Kerry, Ireland in October a day or two prior to Storm Ophelia’s arrival, we were already being battered by the wind, waves and rain, and I was reminded again of the sheer power that exists in this natural force.
Our return flights were (sensibly) cancelled on the Monday, so instead we spent a day indoors watching the weather around us. By the following day, beyond the normal autumnal debris, there was very little evidence that we had been subjected to gale force winds and rain for the previous 24 hours.
Since it was our last full day, we visited the Gap of Dunloe and were privileged to witness the bluest skies, and most picturesque views of hills, rocks and completely calm lakes – how peaceful!
It reminded me of the story in Mark’s gospel where Jesus is with his disciples travelling across the Sea of Galilee. Jesus falls asleep in the bottom of the boat, during which time a ferocious storm whips up, and the disciples are in fear for their lives. In a panic they wake Jesus requesting his help. Jesus utters the words “Peace be still” and immediately the wind ceased and there was a great calm.
Peace is a running theme, in Jesus’ life. Prophesied as the Prince of Peace, Jesus entered the world almost under the radar. Rather than post an announcement on social media, God chose to announce the birth of His Son to some shepherds huddled up on the hill overlooking Bethlehem – the heavenly host of angels filled the skies with singing proclaiming “Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth and goodwill to all men”.
Immediately before his death, Jesus in conversation with his disciples reassures them “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you.”
Looking around at our world, on the news, even within our own lives and communities, peace can appear transient or even out of reach altogether.
However, Jesus, the very embodiment of peace, the incarnate promise of eternal life, demonstrates to us through His life and teaching that whatever we may face, whether we are being thrown around in the midst of the storm or experiencing moments of calm, that one day all things will be made new and if we put our trust in Him, we will live in peace and wholeness forever.
Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth!

The image above is courtesy of https://pixabay.com


Darren Woodward is the senior pastor at Oak Grove Community Church in Norwich.

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