08 May 2008

Be Still My Soul

Bits from Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ - John Piper
Chapter 5 - The Wave sand Winds Still Know His Voice: The Power of Jesus Christ

Mark 4:41

"Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?"
As I logged on to CNN.com recently, I scanned the headlines like I do every day (I don't have a TV, so online news is how I stay caught up with what's going on outside of K-State). On May 2, Myanmar was hit by a cyclone; the estimated death toll is at 100,000 with 60,000 missing. The cyclone dumped 20 inches of rain after pummeling the area for 10 hours with winds up to 150mph. To give you a rough comparison, Overland Park, KS is home to 150,000 residents. Imagine every single one of those people gone -- killed or missing -- in just 10 hours.

When things like this happens, it's a bad deal. People are hurting, mourning, lost, confused, grieving. One man interviewed by CNN lost his granddaughter, grandson, daughter-in-law and sister in the storm. In Job 1:19, Job loses all of his children by a mighty wind: "when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" Job's wife tells him to "curse God and die" (Job 2:9). Instead, "Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:
'Naked I came from my mother's womb,
and naked I will depart. [c]
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised.'" (Job 1:20-21)

Beneath the wreckage of such winds, we have two choices: worship or curse.

When Jesus was on earth, the waves and the winds obeyed him. To the storms he commanded, "Peace! Be still!" and they were calm. The storm was still. The water bore his weight. The water became wine.

Christ is the absolute master over all material substance. The composition of all things was not only created by Christ, it is also held in being moment by moment throughout the whole universe by his will.

Colossians 1:16
For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rules or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.
Fatalities. Fevers. Fish. Food. Fig trees.
Jesus commanded the dead to live again (John 11:43). He rebuked a fever and it left Peter's mother-in-law (Luke 4:39). He planned for a fish to swallow a coin and then get caught in Peter's hook (Matthew 17:21). He fed 5,000 men with five loaves of bread (Matthew 14:19-21). He made a fig tree wither at his curse (Mark 11:21).

As the absolute master of all material substance, Christ could have kept Lazarus from dying. As recorded in John 11:14-15, Jesus says, "Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe."

Be still, my soul! Your God will undertake
To guide the future as He has the past;
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul! The waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

O Lord, the suffering in the world is so widespread and the pain is so great! Have mercy, and waken the souls of suffering millions to the hope of some relief now and unsurpassed joy in the age to come. Keep us in peace, O Lord, and forbid that we murmur and complain. Grant us humble and submissive hearts under your mighty hand. Teach us to wait and watch for your final and holy purposes in all things. Grant that we would "rejoice in hope" even when present circumstances bring us to tears. Open the eyes of our hearts to see the greatness of our inheritance in Christ, and send us with tender hands to touch with mercy the miseries of the world. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.


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