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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Master of the Calm

Treasured friend,

Throughout this week I've been in desperate need of rest ... because of work obligations and deadlines, and more so because of sleep depravation (partially due to worrying about Dad's health and my friends' parents' deteriorating conditions far into the wee hours of the mornings).

In that state of mind, I found myself proofreading final pages for the soon-to-be released updated edition of my book, Conquering the Time Factor. I ran across this passage -- and it spoke to me right where I was. Somehow, I thought it might minister to you, as well. So, here 'tis.

Rest. It is an endangered commodity in this chaotic twenty first century. And yet, chaos cannot snuff out true rest. Don’t believe me? If you have a Bible nearby, take a quick read through Mark 4:36-41. It’s the story of Jesus and His disciples in a boat in the middle of a storm. The disciples respond to the storm just as I would—with disquiet and fear, straining at the oars, trying to survive the situation with brute strength bolstered by huge surges of adrenaline. Their spirits are in an agitated state that is the antithesis of rest.

Jesus, on the other hand, well let’s read how He responds in verse 38: “Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.” It’s always bugged me that Jesus could be so calm, so at rest, in the middle of a storm. While He’s enjoying a cushy, comfortable sleep, the boat is being swamped with squalls and assaulted by violent air currents. When the petrified disciples finally succeed in rousing the Master, He stands, looks around, tells the waves to be quiet and sits back down—reproaching the disciples for their lack of faith. And I’m left shaking my head. You see, He hasn’t changed. He’s still calm in addressing my life storms today. He’s calm, while I’m an absolute wreck. Jesus, how can you be so CALM? It’s a storm. It’s scary. That lightning packs a punch! It’s bigger than I am. And it’s out of control. Don’t you care?

It shouldn’t surprise us that Jesus is calm in a storm, and that He can bring calm to a storm. It shouldn’t surprise us because the God of the Old Testament is also surrounded by a calm. Consider how God showed Himself to the prophet Elijah.

The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:11-13)

When He appeared to Elijah, God allowed the shattering wind and the earthquake and the fire to precede Him, but He Himself was in the calm, not in the chaos. And it wasn’t until the quiet came that His gentle whisper was evident.

And so, my exhausted fellow caregiver, I challenge you to use at least a sliver of what's left of this Lord's Day to find a place of calm and quiet to refresh your body--as well as your soul. It will be there if you listen and look for it. You'll find this gift awaiting you, from the quiet-yet-ample provision of your gracious Savior.

I'll be doing the same--you can hold me to it. In fact, I wish you would.

Excerpted by permission from Conquering the Time Factor: Twelve Myths that Steal Life's Precious Moments. (c) 2002, 2010 by Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission or to order the entire book in print, e-book, or audio editions, contact: