June 15, 2020
Weekly Reflection – Peace in a Pandemic
How can we find peace in a pandemic? This week’s Reflection was written by Jacqueline Wilson and posted on Facebook in April 2020.
May we all experience peace this coming week, even as the pandemic continues to ravage the world.
Blessings and PEACE,
Peace in Pandemic
There are a lot of reasons to be afraid right now: The Covid-19 pandemic, a plummeting economy, job losses, etc., etc. And yet, God’s Word says, “do not be afraid” more times than any other command in the Bible.
What does this mean for us as Christians? How can we not be afraid? Does trust in God mean that no harm will come to us?
When I considered this, I went back to the story of Jesus calming the sea in Matthew’s gospel. The narrative is a short one:
And when he [Jesus] got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And Behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and sea obey him?” (Matthew 8:23-27)
I have to say that I feel like one of the disciples on the boat with Jesus. In this global pandemic, people are not only dying, the whole world is changing the way they live their daily lives to save lives. It is hard. It is so hard that I can relate to the feeling of drowning that the apostles must have had as Jesus slept while the boat was being drenched in waves.
Often, when I encounter a “storm” in my life, I get angry with God and say, “Lord, here I am, trying to live a good life! Here I am trying to follow you, and this, this is what you bring upon me? What did I do to deserve this? How could you let this happen?”
But as this scripture shows, and as Jesus says many times, “Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23), that’s not how God works. Being and living with Christ does not mean that no harm will come.
We see in this scripture that Jesus is with his disciples in the boat that is being “swamped by the waves.” The disciples are so sure that they are going to die that they even cry out, “we are perishing.”
An Awakened Christ
And what is Jesus’ first response when he is awakened? It’s not to calm the storm. In fact, Jesus rebukes the disciples before he rebukes the winds and the sea. Why? What’s the message?
In this story Jesus is pointing out that while he can do anything, there is more than one kind of peace. There is the peace that comes from having no conflict and there is true peace, which is peace that comes from being in the presence of God.
True peace is peace that comes despite conflict. True peace is knowing that our lives are in God’s hands. True peace is knowing that God can handle any hardship that may come no matter how long that hardship lasts. If we choose to trust him, he will take care of us… even through long-suffering and death.
Part of being a Christian is knowing and hoping for the joy of eternal life in Heaven with God. Being a Christian is knowing that God can handle every situation we encounter. It is knowing that God will give us the grace to overcome any situation we encounter. It is also knowing that should a situation lead to long-suffering or death; he will help us through. He will make sure that we rise with him into eternal, joyful life.
So, in this pandemic, let us learn from this scripture. Let us learn from Jesus’ rebuke to the apostles. While we may be afraid, we can also be at peace. God is with us and will help us handle this pandemic no matter what the outcome.
Disclaimer statement: “Please note that the opinions expressed herein are those of the Chaplain alone and are based on his personal understanding of scripture and how God works in our lives.”