Senseless killings. Abusers of children. Victims of trafficking – both human and sex. Violence against people because of their ethnicity. Violence against people because of their sexual orientation. Hate poured out in the name of a gospel that is not the gospel of Christ. Abuse of the elderly. Domestic violence. Rape of women in the midst of political conflict. ISIS and the evil that they are. Abductions. It can all seem quite hopeless – it would be easy for our hearts to faint. After what happened at Emanuel AME church in South Carolina, I could not sleep – I could only cry!
Master, The Tempest is Raging by Mary Baker is a song I grew up hearing in church and most of us know the first verse. It starts off: “Master, the tempest is raging! The billows are tossing high! The sky is o’ershadowed with blackness, No shelter or help is nigh” This last week, however, the 2nd verse has really spoken to my heart:
Master, with anguish of spirit I bow in my grief today;
The depths of my sad heart are troubled Oh, waken and save, I pray!
Torrents of sin and of anguish Sweep o’er my sinking soul;
And I perish! I perish! dear Master Oh, hasten, and take control.
I sang this song to my Father through my teas and I am overjoyed to tell you that my tears were cleansing for me. God used my tears to wash away my fears and fill me with His peace. He used my tears to wash away the doubt that He is active in every situation and fill my heart with irrefutable proof that He is indeed still in control. We humans, have an knack for hurting one another and we have a propensity for ignoring the hurts of those to whom we are not related. But there is a God who cares — the old folk used to say “He sits high and He looks low!” He knows all — He rules over all, works through all, and is present in all (Ephesians 4:6).
The refrain to that song says:
The winds and the waves shall obey Thy will,Peace, be still!
Whether the wrath of the storm tossed sea,
Or demons or men, or whatever it be
No waters can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean, and earth, and skies;
They all shall sweetly obey Thy will, Peace, be still! Peace, be still!
They all shall sweetly obey Thy will,Peace, peace, be still!
I am overcome with joy in knowing that in ALL that I don’t understand and in ALL that happens around me that is disconcerting – I do have a God that I can count on and this great God wants to give me His peace! The ship may sink; the waters will surely rise but I can have peace! I have to choose this peace – it won’t come without my believing that His word is true. But His peace is there for me. Yes!! I can have peace and I can be peace. Can you fathom what it would mean for the Body of Christ to actually have our feet shod with the preparation of peace!! The world would never be the same; we could change the world! So — I choose His peace. It’s there for the taking and there is plenty to go around. I suggest you take some too!!
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.
Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.