If you ever spin really fast for a long enough time that you get dizzy, lying down does not immediately return your equilibrium. In fact, lying down is the first moment you really feel the impact of the dizziness and it is awful. You have to stay perfectly still for the motion to stop in your head and the calm to return. Getting sick, and for a second time in a week finally staying put in my bed yesterday, provided this very sensation. My life of sprinting on a moving sidewalk was forced to a jarring halt and I was struck with how difficult slowing down and even stopping can be.
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. Mark 4:39 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. Luke 8:24 I like the idea of Jesus’ saying “Quiet! Be still!” and that the waves weren’t just the fun, summertime, boogie board variety but were “raging waters”…and all was completely calm in an instant. There is no human invention that can do that with wild, raging water and I most certainly can not do that with my wild, raging soul. Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” Matt. 8:23-27
Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.”…The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?” “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.” Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. Then they cried out to the LORD, “Please, LORD, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, LORD, have done as you pleased.” Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. Jonah 1:4-6, 11-15
Jonah was not an innocent man, yet he foreshadowed the One who would calm the storm by giving His life. The raging waters that first wiped out the world in judgment would never again wipe out all those who fully deserve it, because the only One who knew no guilt bore their wrath and replaced their victory with His. Even as I am spinning and wanting to throttle back, to be more present in the moment than running wildly to some distant finish line, I find I cannot calm myself, simmer myself down nor effectively command my heart, mind and soul to be quiet and still. I try all sorts of cargo dumping, list making, and task completion efforts all to no avail. The sea sickness continues. “At that time,” declares the LORD, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people.” This is what the LORD says: “The people who survive the sword will find favor in the wilderness; I will come to give rest to Israel.” The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. Jer. 31:1-3 I love that I am among those who “survive the sword” not because of my swift feet and agile moves, but because and only because Jesus took the sword in my place! And then, even in the wilderness (not just the promised land), He will give me rest. Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. 2 Thes. 3:16 He is the Lord of peace – not my unpacked boxes, not an orderly new house, not walls with baseboards nor finished paint or kitchen countertops or hot showers (none of which we quite have yet). The accomplishment of these things, and the host of others on my ever growing to-do list, will never calm my busy heart nor bring to rest my soul in motion. But His presence reminds me that He is rest, He is peace, He has the power to say, “Peace, be still!” and it will be so. Even tonight as I close my eyes, oh would He quiet me. Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Psalm 62:1