Two days ago, Mark and I were driving home in the pouring rain and I caught myself saying, “I bet there are people watching the creek’s water level right now.” When he asked why, I shrugged and told him that this has been our neighbors’ automatic response every time it rains. It’s been almost three years since Ondoy left most of our village (and Metro Manila) underwater and though the flooded houses have been rebuilt and refurnished with new stuff, I can’t say that people have truly moved on. As soon as it starts raining, people get scared and suddenly, Hillsong’s Still means something more. People start praying for peace.
But, what is peace? When we talk about peace, the images that usually come to mind are of monks in meditation, endless green plains, or just a blank canvas. We define peace as the absence of trouble and wait for the circumstances to determine whether peace is a possibility.
That is not the kind of peace that Jesus promised. His promise was set against a background of unavoidable trouble. The promise was not that we won’t have trouble. His promise was that if we abide in Him, we will have peace in spite of trouble.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
So, what is this peace like?
I believe that being in Christ can be likened to being in the eye of the storm. And to fully realize what this kind of peace means, I’m going to point out a few things to remember.
The Eye of the Storm is the safest spot to be in. When you’re in Christ, even if there’s destruction all around, you have the assurance that you will stay safe. It doesn’t matter how intense the storm is, it is scientifically impossible for the bad weather to reach you. However, (I know anyone who’s been in an actual eye of the storm can relate to this) this doesn’t mean that you won’t witness the storm.
The Eye of the Storm has the most scary view. It is the constant lightning and thunder that we see from our windows that takes our peace away. We see how other people frantically scramble to save their possessions and themselves and are convinced that we should do the same. Even if we know full well that we were meant to be hard pressed, but not crushed, we find it hard to sleep thinking that the black storm clouds that surround will push the clear skies right above us and kill us in our sleep.
I know it’s hard to relax when everything else seems to be falling apart, but that is what Christ’s promised peace is all about. It’s about having the assurance that nothing outside can touch us.
Moving away from the Eye of the Storm will endanger you. When you’re in the eye of the storm and want to stay safe, there’s just one rule… STAY WHERE YOU ARE! Remember that Christ’s promised peace has one condition. This only applies to people who are in Him. If you move away from the center of the storm and into the eyewall, you’re bound to feel the storm’s effects.
In order to have a life of peace, we have to make sure that we are ALWAYS in Christ. It’s funny how some Christians turn away from Christ and get mad when they suffer the consequences of their actions.
Dude, you left the safe place and walked right into the storm, of course you’re going to get hurt!
The Eye of the Storm is always in motion. I said that being in the center of God’s will will keep you safe, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can build your mansion where you are and expect it to be safe all the time.
Since Christ is the eye of the storm, to remain safe, we must follow Him wherever He leads us. That is very hard to do if you plan to carry your whole house with you.
Being a Christian isn’t always about having earthly possessions. We were designed to be nomads whose sole purpose is to follow God’s will. The eye of the storm moves with the storm and if you don’t follow it because you’re too much into your life right now, you may find yourself in the eyewall scrambling away.
So, if you want to have the peace that Christ promised, you have to…
- Make sure that you are in Him.
- Stop looking through the windows.
- Stay where you’re supposed to be.
- Be ready to move when Christ tells you to.
And that’s my two cents on that.
Jan Angelique Maravilla is a pastor’s kid, a youth leader, resource speaker and a fledgling writer from the Philippines. She maintains a personal blog site where she shares her two cents on topics such as love, life, and Christianity.