It is not easy to cultivate a peaceful mind in a storm. Sometimes, we encounter unpredictable storms in life and it is not just any kind of storm. It won’t be a serene breeze but a strong and destructive one. It does not require much effort to cultivate a peaceful mind in a peaceful forest. However, it is a different story when the environment changes. It is not so easy to cultivate a peaceful mind when strong and big winds blow in our lives. Instinctively, we get frightened when strong winds blow. We get anxious. Even confused, when the strong and big winds blow unexpectedly. What also comes is the death-like ‘fear’.
From time to time, I face occasional storms in the journey of my pastoral ministry. I am afraid to meet these strong storms because I am just a string of reed in the storm; a frail and tender being. I get discouraged, anxious, and my heart troubles me as I begin to have second thoughts. It is not easy to find peace in your mind and soul when your heart is troubled and distressed. However, through passing the many trials of storms in life, I have gained wisdom in cultivating stillness and peace in the storm. So how can we keep the stillness of your mind and soul in the midst of a storm?
First, it is in the wisdom of accepting the reality of occasional storms in life. Everyone will be faced with storms. No one can escape from these storms. Life is not as easy as it sounds. There was a great storm that came when the disciples were out in the sea. And even to the boat Jesus was in, the storm came. There was also a storm called ‘Euroaquilo’ that Apostle Paul faced out in the sea. When a storm comes in, be trained to accept it as it is. We suffer so much through the storms of life due to the false and deceptive ideas that it’s only happening to me and wondering why I have to go through so much. These thoughts will hurt and distress us even more. No one is free from the storms of life. Everyone faces difficulties. Accept the difficulties and the storms as they are, for the storms will die down and will not last long.
Second, when a storm comes in, it is wise to go into the “eye of the storm”. When the storm comes, we shut our eyes in fear. However, storms are not resolved by fear. It is solved by facing this fear with courage. Stand strong and firm in the storm. Stare back at it and take control. Find the “eye of the storm” and go inside it. There is one quiet place found within the storm and that is in the “eye of the storm”. You must stay calm in the storm to find the “eye of the storm”. You must also have courage. “The Eye of the Storm” is our refuge. God is our refuge (Ps 46:1).
Third, it is wise to look at Jesus when a storm comes in. The disciples focused on the big waves rather than focusing on Jesus when the great storm arose. Our feelings are affected by what we choose to focus our eyes and minds on. Depending on where our eyes are, our emotions will be affected accordingly. When we meet a storm in life, we forget that Jesus is with us just as the disciples did. We forget to look at Jesus. God has never promised that there won’t be storms in our life journey. However, God did promise that he will be with us under all circumstances. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” (Isa. 43:2 ESV).
Fourth, it is wise to pray for Jesus to calm the storm. Jesus will calm the storm for us when we pray. Jesus will calm the strong waves at his will. We cannot calm the strong waves with our might and effort. Do not be afraid of the storm but pray. Ask Jesus for help. Do not be anxious but pray. At his command and in the authority of Jesus’s name, all the strong winds will calm down. We could get anxious for a while when the storms come. We could be shaken for a while. But when we fix our eyes and pray to Jesus, our hearts will be calm. When we calm our hearts, a mysterious peace will surround and guard our hearts.
A calmed heart is like a serene lake. The serene lake is calm. The sky meets the serene lake. A serene heart, like a serene lake, is met with heavenly inspiration from above. The wisdom of God descends upon us. The ability and power to overcome the storm descends upon us as well. The storm does not last forever. The storm is what passes by for a moment. Endure a little more. Wait a little bit more. The storm will soon pass by. Please train and build a calm mind through the Word of God every morning. We live in a time and age where serenity has disappeared. That is why people who train to have a peaceful mind are remarkably beautiful. May you train for a peaceful mind, day after day, to bless and share the peace that is within you.
Reverend Joshua Choon-Min Kang is the senior pastor of New Life Vision Church, located in Los Angeles. This is one of the weekly letters he writes to his congregation. For the original, visit www.nlvc.org.