Peace in the Pandemic

Peace in the Pandemic

Mark 4:35-40 “And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. 36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. 37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?”

In recorded history, in that time, there has only been about 8% of that time has there been peace. Men have tried to have peace by way of rules, laws, and peace-keeping efforts. Within this last century, we’ve endeavored to align nations for the purpose of peace. There is still as much turmoil as when Ishmael was pushing Isaac around in Abraham’s living room.

People have tried yoga and meditation to have personal peace. God’s way of meditation is filling your mind with His Word and your heart with His Spirit.

Peace means ‘freedom for war, civil strife’ and ‘an undisturbed state of mind, rest from worry and fear, serenity.’

When the anti-christ regime reigns, there will still not be peace. There will not be an end to the troubles and trials of life. Outward peace is not coming. That is not very good news.

However, peace is available. 

A retired couple studied the world to find the most peaceful place. It turned out to be the Falkland Islands. Only a few months later, war broke out and their new home became a battle ground.

Everyone has a problem, is a problem, lives with a problem, etc.

There is still a peace that passes all understanding.

We look out in the natural world for hope and peace. Instead of looking out, look up. Just a short distance away, lift your eyes up to the Lord.

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Are you in this world, but not of this world?

Isaiah 9:6 says He is ‘the Prince of Peace.’ Jesus is the Author of Peace. He brings peace to hearts and troubled spirits.

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

You can’t have the peace OF God without first having peace WITH God. 

Jesus was wounded for our transgressions. The punishment that brought us peace was on Him.

Rom 5:1 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”

Eph 2:14 “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;”

Eph 2:17 “And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.”

Col 1:20 “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”

Ralf Waldo Emerson said, ‘The wise man in the storm prays God not for safety from danger but for deliverance from fear. It is the storm within which endangers him [,] not the storm without.’

Jesus said to the storm, ‘Be muzzled,’ silencing the fear. 

When Jesus was woken He was more upset with His disciples than with the storm. If God doesn’t calm the storm around us, let Him calm the storm within us. We are commanded to control the storm internally.

Psalm 29:11 “The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.”

Mat 6:25 “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?”

Worry can cause so much damage. It can lead us outside of trust in God. It slows productivity. It can cause us to treat others poorly. We have a responsibility of concern for others. This is different from ‘worry.’

Concern says, ‘I will wash my hands, pray, quarantine myself.’ There is a line crossed when you worry. Worry controls you. You want to sleep, but worry keeps you from rest. That’s no longer concern. Worry does not please God.

If you want to please God, you need peace in this pandemic. Believe that God will provide. 

Phil 4:6-9 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Worry is a Peace-Thief. The peace of God is found in the presence of God.

If you don’t have peace, you either have unreported of sin or a misunderstanding and need to seek the presence of God. Do what you need to do in order to have peace with God, repent, get rid of sin. Then, seek Him and trust Him. Yield all control to God.

Bowing to something other than God is something that the devil has been wanting us to do for a long time. Worry is actually bowing to the spirit of fear.

Living during the Black Death, 75 million people were killed. Fear of death rises.

If you’ve never been afraid before, why start now? The devil has always been trying to get people to bow to him.

King Nebuchadnezzar tried to force people to bow or die. Three Hebrew children refused and God was glorified. In the story of Esther, Mordecai refused to bow and Naaman was obsessed with forcing him. In the end, Naaman was hung on the scaffolding he meant for Mordecai.

We must not bow to anything that comes against the peace of God. Jesus will satisfy our every need. 

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

The opposite of fear is peace.

Isa 26:3-4 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. 4 Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength:”

You can bring God’s presence into your home through praise and worship and reading His Word. Fill your mind with His Word. Let God’s Spirit push out the darkness.

The lesson wasn’t how to stop the storm, it was how to sleep through the storm!

Psalm 119:165 “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”

1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”

Heb 6:17-19 “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: 18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;”

When God says something, it happens. He can’t lie. Even if something wasn’t before He spoke, as He starts speaking, it begins to be. The anchor still holds.

In the catacombs in Rome, there are many symbols of Christians hiding there, a dove, a fish, and an anchor. The anchor came from the idea that Christians were going through difficult times. It was a symbol of hope. At least 66 pictures of anchors are found in those catacombs.

There was really no warning of this global pandemic. Without question, every soul needs an anchor. This will hold firm while the winds blow. If anything is strong, it should be our anchor of hope in God. 

God is faithful. Though we have no idea what will happen, we can trust that God is still in control.

Don’t worry about the wrath of God and the tribulation. We will go to be with Him. He cares for us. He loves us. God is faithful.

Rom 8:24-25 “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

If you can see your anchor, it’s not in the water. If you can see your hope, then it’s not where it’s supposed to be. The anchor will hold, but put it where it needs to be. Trust God. He is faithful. He will never fail.

The raging seas of uncertainty do not need to enter your home or your heart.

The Word of God will help fight those things that want to take your peace. Psalms brings great comfort.

Psalm 107:23-31 “They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; 24 These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. 25 For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. 26 They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. 27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end. 28 Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. 29 He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. 30 Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. 31 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!”

Psalm 89:9 “Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.”

There’s a story of a lady who was fearful every night because she thought there was someone under her bed. Her pastor said, ‘Tonight, when that happens, pray and ask God what to do.’ A few days later, she called the pastor and said, ‘I’m not afraid anymore.’ He said, ‘What did God say to do?’ She replied, ‘He told me to cut off the legs of my bed so no-one but Jesus could get under there.’

If you silence every voice, you’ll hear Jesus say, ‘Peace, be still.’

More Questions for Personal or Group Study:

  1. When was the last time you were really sick? How did you handle it? Who took care of you? How long until you felt ‘like yourself’ again? 
  2. What are the ‘bed legs’ that you need to cut off in your life in order to eliminate fear? Have you put your ‘anchor’ into the water yet?  If not, what is holding you back? 
  3. Read Psalm 23. What does the Shepherd do for you in these verses? How does this comfort you? 
  4. How can you encourage someone else in the midst of this pandemic? 

Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.