Anxious for Nothing, Day 4 by Max Lucado
When mariners describe a tempest that no sailor can escape, they call it a “perfect storm.” Not perfect in the sense of ideal, but perfect in the sense of combining factors. All the elements, such as hurricane-force winds plus a cold front plus a downpour of rain, work together to create an insurmountable disaster. The winds alone would be a challenge—but the winds plus the cold plus the rain? The perfect recipe for disaster.
You don’t need to be a mariner to experience a perfect storm. In fact, you’ve undoubtedly already faced a few in your lifetime. A layoff plus recession. An illness plus a job change. A relationship breakup plus a college rejection. A sudden loss plus an unforeseen event that threatens your future. Individually, these elements might be manageable. But collectively, they are absolutely formidable. It’s enough to make you wonder, Will I even survive?
Paul’s answer to that question is as profound as it is concise. When you present your requests to God with thanksgiving, “the peace of God . . . will guard your heart” (Philippians 4:7 NIV). In other words, as you do your part and release the worry to God, he does his part by bestowing on you his perfect peace. You should be worried . . . but you’re not. You should be upset . . . but you are calm. The peace of God transcends all logic, scheming, and efforts to explain it.
When Paul was faced with a “perfect storm” at sea, he told the sailors, “Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. . . . God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you'” (Acts 27:23–24 NIV). On the deck of a sinking ship, God sent angels to minister to Paul. He will do the same for you. Unlike the world, his resources are limitless and his peace is permanent.
Perhaps you’ve prayed and prayed and heard nothing. Don’t give up! Rest in the truth that just as God sent angels to protect those you read about in the Bible, he will send his angels to protect you—even as your storm continues to rage. When you gave your life to him, he took you into his family as a cherished child. He has purpose for your days, and he invites you to join in accomplishing his will in the world. He will use the storms to grow your faith and trust in him.
When you seek the Lord, you will find him. So seek him first. Lead with worship and thanksgiving. Go first to your Father in prayer and praise. Confess to him your fears. Gather with his people. Set your face toward God. Cry out for help. Admit your weakness. Then, once God moves, take a step and move with him.
Expect to see the God of ages fight for you. He is near, as near as your next breath. You may be facing the perfect storm, but Jesus offers the perfect peace.
What are some “perfect storms” that you have faced in your life? What made them so difficult?
In what ways is God’s peace different from the kind of peace the world has to offer?
What protection do you need God to provide right now? How can you express your trust in God’s ability to care for you in the midst of these difficult circumstances?
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:7
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.John 14:27