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December 26, 2014

"O what peace we often forfeit, o what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer." Joseph M. Scriven, 1855

He bid them come with him on the other side. Sailing wasn’t a problem for them; in fact some among them were very good at fishing. The sea was very calm and everything was peaceful and quiet as they left a couple of other boats on the shore. They knew the journey was a bit long (not very long though) and some because of the pressure of the crowd they longed for solitude and quiet. So, some availed themselves to the quiet factor of the sea, enjoyed the ride in contemplating the beautiful scenery listening to the sound of the water while others took the opportunity to rest, close their eyes and sleep for a moment.

Some took the time to catch up with others, reminiscing the amazing things they have witnessed him do, commenting on this and that, wondering what is to be expected when they get on the other side because that man was peculiar and always full of surprises. Although the weather was a bit cold, the beautiful blue-colored sea and sky, the birds of the air, the fishes and the horizon made them forget about it.

However, as time went by, it seemed that the sky went the wrong sort of color; it grew dark. Some wouldn’t worry at all if it was just the sky but the waves were swelling up little by little and the wind got stronger. Their optimistic minds liked to think it was just a small relapse of the weather and there was nothing to worry about. But things were getting worse, waves were building up very fast and it seemed they were rushing in the dark as clouds were piling up, the wind was very strong; too strong to move heavy things in the boat.

Their drab journey took another turn. Everybody got up and they got frantically busy. They all rushed to reef the sail. As soon as it was done a huge wave, higher than the mat—it seemed— rushed towards them. The people aboard were overcome with fear and they started to scream. It’s as if death was a certainty but somehow they were tossed by the wind to the top of it and as the wave got by the boat, it had to go down as if falling from a ten stories high building. Realizing their last breath was close, they all screamed as hard as they could, as if by this distress signal someone would come to help. But again, somehow the boat landed safely.

This went on a couple of times before they realize that someone among them was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. That was so irritating. How could he sleep with all the waters that was going in, threatening to make their boat sink? All of them were desperately trying to control the ship; in vain. But they’d not cope with a guy that is sleeping with all the help they could use.

‘Master, do you not care that we drown?’ they bawled.

As their master woke up, they witnessed something their minds would probably never forget: He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea: ‘Peace, Be still’. And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.

This was written a while ago, when I was meditating on this amazing story. However, feelings of ridicule and shame invaded me when none of what I learned was put to practice during these most stressful days of the year—Christmas and New Year celebrations. It is funny how we forget easily what we’ve learned when the most convenient time to remember and put it into practice has come.

Seasons were carefully designed by God and each one has a purpose in it. Storms and times of great disturbance will come for sure; there’s nothing we can do about it. However our endeavors to keep our ship in control when we’re facing these trials will soon reveal to be of no avail. How remarkable is the inner peace of the Lord, knowing that he won’t be hurt or suffer any loss. His peace that caused him not to lose sleep in face of this big storm is just supernatural and one can’t but wonder.

Why running here and there trying to fix what is beyond your ability to manage? During those times; you can’t focus, can’t pray, and can’t think straight. You become easily irritable; you lose patience and all kindness. You lose any sense of gentleness and forget about self-control. You can’t come to a place of solitude and calm yourself down a little but you’re close to losing it and exhausted while trying to keep up with the times. You don’t have the strength to sit and pray because you feel like you’re wasting precious time in prayer instead of using it to fix and get things done.

This is where the words of the Lord cut deep through the roots of the issue: “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”(Mark4:40) Fear and unbelief are the roots of the issue. Why worry when the author of times and seasons is with us? Why won’t we tell him? Faith is it that moment we come, in prayer, to make our needs known and have comfort, sit back and give up our endeavors to the impossible and wait for his powerful hand to operate.

My plea is this simple… Take it to the Lord in prayer and see the peace you had forfeited, the needless pain you bore all because you couldn’t—out of fear— take it or give it to him in faith through prayer.


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