Don’t you love stock photos of teachers?
The teacher with every hair perfectly in place…her beautiful unwrinkled button-down shirt. Her glistening white smile. The beautiful chalkboard behind her. Her students sitting in spotless desks with their hands eagerly outstretched, waiting patiently for their turn to talk.
It always looks so calm and peaceful. It doesn’t look like me or my classroom.
My hair is thrown back in a messy bun because I just don’t feel like dealing with it anymore. My shirt is covered in pen marks and fruit cocktail juice (from tearing off those plastic coverings on fruit cups at lunch). I choose to not look at the desks because they give me nightmares. My whiteboard is covered with marker residue, and I have forgotten to change the date at the top again. And the kid with the eagerly outstretched hand…he is already talking and just about falling out of his seat from waving it.
Some days, it’s just a little bit of chaos.
Maybe your classroom is never chaotic – you and your students really do look like those stock photos (you are my hero! Come help me, please!). But the chaos in your life comes from elsewhere – a diagnosis, a failing relationship, financial stress, a breaking heart over a wandering child.
God’s Word has so many examples of people whose lives are in chaos – men and women just like us who feel like they are spinning out of control. Yet many of these men and women still found joy and peace amidst the storms raging around them.
One of my favorite accounts in the Bible is the story of the disciples being tossed around in a boat during a great storm. They are probably struggling to hold on as the winds whip them around. The waves keep pounding their little boat, and soon the water is pouring in and filling up. They are panicked. They are freaking out as they bail water. They are doing everything they know how to do to try and save themselves.
And through it all, Jesus is right there with them…asleep.
The disciples rush over to wake Him up and the accusations fly out of their mouths before they can stop them.
Lord, don’t you care that we are perishing?
Oh, the cry of the overwhelmed soul! My heart knows it so well!
Lord, don’t you care that I just lost my teaching position and have to find a new one within a few months?
Lord, don’t you care that I am trying to juggle the demands of teaching with caring for a failing parent?
Lord, don’t you care that I am serving you but struggling to pay the bills?
Lord, don’t you care that I love children but can’t seem to have any of my own?
Lord, don’t you care that a loved one was just diagnosed with cancer?
Lord, don’t you care about the loneliness I feel?
Lord, don’t you care?
And as my heart cries out, the storm keeps raging around me…the water level keeps growing, and the wind threatens to knock me over.
Then, His voice slices through the storm.
Peace, be still.
Instantly the storm ceases.
Imagine the relief of the disciples – one minute they are bailing out water and saying their last prayers, and the next moment the sea is perfectly calm.
Jesus turns to them and lovingly confronts them,
“Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” (Mark 4:40)
You see, the circumstances had changed for the disciples…but one thing had not changed, and that was their Savior. Christ cut right to the heart of the matter – His disciples were panicking because of a lack of faith. Their gaze was on the storm…not their Savior.
Lack of peace stems from a lack of faith and focus.
They were never going through that storm alone. Through it all, Christ was right there with His disciples. Yes, for awhile, He was silent…but He was still right there, and He knew exactly what was going on. He brought the disciples to the end of themselves so that He could direct their focus to where it should have been the entire time.
The disciples forgot (or did not truly know, based on their later response) who was in the boat with them.
The secret to peace in the midst of storms is remembering who is in the boat with you.
God lovingly and ever so carefully brings us through storms to grow us closer to Him. No gust of wind or wave can break over your ship without Him knowing and allowing it. No storm is faced on your own. In fact, He has already successfully faced every storm that you will ever come up against and is waiting to help you to do the same.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are,yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
Dear friend, whatever you are facing…you are facing it with Christ right by your side. He is growing your faith by bringing you to the point where you can do nothing else but turn to Him. He wants you to get to know who He is.
If the disciples truly had realized who was in the boat with them, they would have realized that He was…
- The Creator of all (Ps. 136:5-9, Ps. 95:4-6, Ps. 100:3)
- Sovereign (Is. 55:8-9, Ps. 115:3, Ps. 138:8)
- All-powerful (Jer. 32:17, Ps. 147:5)
- Loving (Ps. 94:18-19,Is. 54:7-10, Rom. 8:35, Jer. 31:3, Ps. 117:2)
In your storm, turn your gaze to whom your God is. Remind yourself of His promises. Cling to His character. Your chaos is not too much for Him to handle.
Peace, just like joy, is not a feeling that depends on circumstances. It’s a fruit that the Spirit grows in our lives as we get to know our God more and more. Run to Him – knowing Him is the true and only source of lasting peace!
A few of my favorite resources if you are facing your own storm…
- A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23
- Trusting God Even When Life Hurts
- When God Doesn’t Fix It
- What Do I Know About My God? a helpful resource on studying the Bible and gaining a notebook full of truth about your God that you can turn to in times of difficulty or praise.
- Song: I Am With You – video explaining background of song with lyrics printed below; song available for purchase on iTunes
- Song: I’ll Never Forsake You – also available for download on iTunes
*Please note that I do not necessarily endorse every aspect of the above resources, but they are ones that I have personally found to be helpful for me!