The Peace That Gives Life
We may not be able to achieve world peace, but everyone wants peace in their personal life.
In your quest for peace, have you ever considered the type of peace that you want?
Do you want to rest in peace?
Or do you want to be still and be at peace?
Let us look at two different ways that you can attain peace. Then choose which peace you want in your heart.
The prophet Jonah never stop amazing me. One of the things that struck me about Jonah is that he was fast asleep in the bottom of the ship during the storm (Jonah 1).
For Jonah to be sleeping during such a turbulent storm it means he was at peace in spite of the commotion that was going on around him.
While the other passengers were clamoring around, fearfully praying to their gods, Jonah simply went bed.
Why was Jonah sleeping?
As I thought about this question I remembered another story in the Bible of someone sleeping during a storm.
Jesus and His disciples were in a ship when a great storm beat against the ship. But, Jesus went down to the bottom of the ship and fell fast asleep on a pillow (Mark 4:36-41).
If you have been through a storm you will know that it is impossible to sleep when the wind is howling and tossing your home while the rain is battering and pounding throwing water everywhere.
During Hurricane Irma, in 2017, the authorities warned us that we should not sleep but to be on the alert for flooding and flying debris.
It was impossible to sleep when your roof and furniture were blowing out of your home. Fear kept you alert and ready to escape your hiding place if it became necessary.
Yet, Jonah and Jesus thought that the best time to get a good night’s rest was during a powerful storm.
It was difficult for me to understand until the Lord told me to look at the character of these two men and then I would understand why they found peace during a storm.
Let us first look at the character of Jesus.
Jesus’ character can be summed up into one verse.
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: (John 11:25)
Resurrect means to bring to life again. It means death has no power over Jesus Christ.
Since Jesus is the embodiment of life, anywhere He goes and anything that He touches must come to life. The dead things including the spiritual and physical must come alive in the presence of Christ.
Therefore, when Jesus was in the ship and He saw the dark storm clouds approaching, He shrugged His shoulders and thought to Himself that though the storm raged it would not overcome them.
The sea was turbulent due to to the power of the storm, but it could not destroy them because Jesus was on board and He is the resurrection and life.
Jesus was confident in His abilities. He was confident in His power so He just pulled out a comfy pillow and went to sleep.
In spite of the might of the tempest, the wind and waves obeyed the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ when He commanded, “Peace, be still!”
Let us look at Jonah.
Jonah was running away from God on a ship to Tarshish when a great storm aroused at sea.
The Lord told Jonah to go to Nineveh and cry against the city because of their wickedness.
However, Jonah decided that he would not go to Nineveh so he ran in the opposite direction as far away as possible (Jonah1).
Perhaps Jonah thought that the Lord would use someone else who was closer to Nineveh to do the job.
Jonah was a seasoned prophet of God who was familiar with the voice of God. Obviously, Jonah had a close relationship with the Lord, yet he purposely decided to disobey the Lord’s request.
The consequence of disobedience is the wrath of God and ultimately death (Ephesians 5:6; Romans 6:23).
Although Jonah was aware of these consequences, he decided to choose death. Jonah recognized that when he went on the ship to Tarshish he was on a mission that would result in death.
Therefore, when Jonah saw the approaching storm he knew it was the hand of God and they would all perish in the storm.
Thus, Jonah decided to sleep through his impending death. Jonah was on a suicide mission!
Jonah did not care about the other passengers and crews. Their impending doom did not matter to him because they were heathen who worship false gods just like the people of Nineveh.
However, God cares about every single person whether you are a heathen or atheist. It is not God’s will that anyone perishes, but that they come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
The Lord also said that He will not send his judgment upon the wicked without first warning them. Jonah, on the other hand, wanted the wicked to perish without any chance of repentance.
Thus, he was determined to go above the wishes of God preferring to die rather than warned the wicked people of Nineveh.
It was not surprising that when the other passengers woke Jonah, his immediate solution to the problem was that they threw him overboard.
Jonah could have repented to God and told the captain to return to Joppa. I am sure that the Lord would show them mercy and cease the storm.
However, Jonah chose death once again.
Jonah did not understand that in spite of his disobedience and stubbornness God was still looking out for him. So the Lord prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah.
When Jonah found himself alive and enclosed in the belly of a fish it was like the agony and torment of hell. So, Jonah cried out to the Lord from the belly of hell and said,
I am cast out of thy sight, yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God. (Jonah 2:4-5)
The prophet Jonah was not only prophesying about his impending salvation, but he was prophesying about the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ when he said,
“Thou hast brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God.”
No wonder, Jesus referred back to Jonah as the only sign of His death and resurrection that He left for us on earth.
For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:40)
Our merciful God spoke to the fish and it vomited Jonah on the shore. The men on board the ship to Tarshish were saved and they turned to the true and living God.
Jonah found peace in the storm because he chose death and decided to rest in peace.
Jesus, on the other hand, was at peace during the storm because He is the resurrection and life. So the storms must obey His voice when He said peace be still!
Even though as humans we sometimes give up and choose death, the Lord has another plan for us. He will pull us out of the pit of hell and give us a second chance of life.
Whatever storms you are going through, the Lord can bring peace to your life.
Salvation is of the Lord because He is the resurrection and life!
“My covenant was with him, one of life and peace, and I gave them to him that he might fear me; so he feared me and was reverent before my name. The law of truth was in his mouth, and injustice was not found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and equity, and turned many away from iniquity. (Malachi 2:5-6)