Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Mid-Week Message - What the World Needs Now

"When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, 'Silence!  Be still!'  Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was great calm."  Mark 4:39  (NLT)

One set of my grandparents loved to go fishing.  Sometimes when they would come to Austin to visit, they would go to a nearby lake, rent a boat, and be out on the water for hours.  One time, they asked me if I wanted to go with them and I was so excited.  When we began, the sun was warm and the wind was calm.  As evening set in though, the weather conditions began to change.  A slight breeze arose which turned into a moderate wind and the small boat began to rock.  Neither of my grandparents seemed bothered by it, but I was beginning to be a bit afraid.  Although I could see land, I couldn't see the lights beside the piers.  Gradually, the ripples on the water became small waves and my feeling of safety was gone.  When my focus shifted from the experience of my grandparents to my own perceptions of what could happen, fear took over. 

We know the story that leads to today's verse.  There was a mighty storm and the disciples were sure they were going to perish.  Meanwhile, Jesus was sleeping.  When they woke Him, he commanded the wind and the waves to be still and they obeyed.  Like me, they had forgotten who was in charge.  

At times, it seems that our lives consist of one struggle after another.  We barely get through one trying time before another sets in.  We may feel that we are in a fight we can't possibly win and wonder if we should just give up.  Like sailors battling to keep an endangered ship afloat, we do everything we can think of, but sometimes it just isn't enough.  The winds keep building and the waves grow higher until there is nothing else we can do.  Just when we think all is lost, the clouds begin to pass, the sun peeks through and we cautiously draw a deep breath of relief.  

This year has been a reminder that we are not in control.  First, the COVID-19 virus arrived and our way of daily life was greatly altered.  When it seemed that finally we were going to be allowed to return to our normal schedules, protests and riots broke out in our cities.  Most of us watch the news while shaking our heads in disbelief.  Much is being said and done that we never thought we would see in our lifetimes.  Politicians play their political games while people's lives and livelihoods are being lost to the violence.  This is a storm most of us have not experienced and we waffle between confusion, anger and fear.  

Now, more than ever, our focus needs to remain on the One in charge.  While this may have caught us all by surprise, He has always known these days would come and already knows the outcome.  Rather than kneeling in the streets, we need to kneel before our Father in Heaven, acknowledge His power and ask Him to calm the winds of discontent and heal the hearts that are being ripped apart.  He loves each of us, no matter where we come from or the color of our skin.  Sin destroys but His perfect love heals and restores.  As we witness the images on our television screens, rather than comment and criticize, maybe we should be praying for the people we see and asking Him to calm this storm.  

In 1965, a song was released entitled "What the World Needs Now."  Sung by Jackie DeShannon, it reminded us that the world needs love.  I woke up this morning with this song on my mind.  The world does need love, God's love, and it is our task to carry it wherever we go.  My hope is that each one of us will pray for those who are hurting and reach out to those we come in contact with.  May you be blessed with His peace and protection.  God bless.  

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