Faith

Surprised by Peace

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Deuteronomy 31:8

My short legs wrapped around our neighbor’s shoulders. I clung to his chin, my little body draped over his head like a bonnet. I had just followed him into the water. Suddenly, he snatched me up and plopped me on his shoulders as the jellyfish surrounded us.

“I got you. Don’t be afraid, Marlene.” 

The Okinawan ocean was crystal blue. The jellyfish danced serenely around his legs as he glided his way to the beach. But I wasn’t afraid. I had been lifted up. I was being carried then and I am being carried now.

This has given me peace over the past few weeks. When the news floats through my living room, threatening to sting, I remind myself, “The Lord Himself goes before me and will be with me. Don’t be afraid, Marlene.” 

When I start feeling depressed because we’ve been separated and isolated for so long. God answers, “Don’t be discouraged, Marlene, I am with you.”

Today, when we feel the Corona virus hovering like jellyfish, unseen and dangerous in the waters of everyday life, there is a pull toward fear and discouragement. And yet, God still echoes the same words, “Don’t be afraid. I am with you.” These words pull us in the opposite direction, causing resistance. Not necessarily physical resistance, like immunity to a virus, but a covering from the world—a sense that we are on God’s shoulders and He is walking us through the waters. In other words, the Bible is true. It promises trouble but Jesus has (past tense) overcome the world. 

Consequently, God was not surprised by Covid-19, but I was surprised by peace. It’s not the peace the comes with denial or the peace that comes with knowledge, rather it’s the peace that surpasses understanding. This is what Romans 15:13 means by “overflowing with peace.” When I put my hope in the God of hope­–not in my health or my family or financial stability–He fills me with joy and peace as I trust in HIM! 

So, just for fun, close your eyes and picture yourself on a beach standing in front of Jesus with your back to Him. He’s waist deep in the Ocean and jellyfish are all around. Your eyes are closed, and your arms are crossed over your chest.

He says, “I got you.”

Without hesitation you fall back into His loving arms. It’s the ultimate trust fall. But that’s where the joy and peace come from! Our hope is not in avoiding the Corona virus, our hope is in the Lord. The enemy is trying so hard to stir up division, strife, fear and hopelessness. But we are like little five-year old’s who can’t see clearly until we get up on God’s shoulders. So, hold up your arms and allow God to scoop you up onto His broad shoulders. Then, rest in Him as He carries you through. He always does.

On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”  And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”  They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”…They came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes.

Mark 4:35-5:1