In this time of trial,
pain that no one sees...
Trust me when I say,
that I will give you perfect peace...
...and though I may not
calm the storms around you
you can hide in me..."
I was sitting on the front steps this evening, watching a storm cloud drift, and fleck, and soften, and reform...and I couldn't help but think of Jesus' evening in Calvary when the earth shook. It touched me deeply tonight. My son hasn't been crucified, my best friend isn't asking me to take care of his mother from the summit of the cross, the man I've followed faithfully through the desert is not giving up his life so that I might trust God more completely... no, my evening looks benign. It would seem to be filled with sweetness...the promise of soft rain and spring flowers.
But I feel the power of this story with all my heart. I can't seem to leave it in "the books" where I know the last chapter...resurrection, redemption, ascension. That will come later. This evening, I want to let the Calvary story give context to the fulfilled promise. I want to watch with his mother, weep with the Magdalene, and hope with John. I want to stand in the space of "unknowing" and pray that there is more to the story than a cross. I want to be reminded that for every Calvary, there is a Bethany. For every tear, there is "full compensation." Here is a post from last spring that whispers what is in my heart tonight. Have a wonderful Easter...
I love Laura Story's "Perfect Peace," because of the forgiveness and compassion it represents to me. There are have been so many times in my life when I have felt like such a failure...berated myself for not having prayed "hard enough." So many long nights when I have thought that if only I had prayed sooner, longer, better I would not have experienced whatever storm I was going through.
But this song reflects what I have come to believe with my entire being. That just because I am expereincing a storm, it doesn't mean that there is something out of divine order.
In fact, in his parable of the house built on the sand/rock, Jesus helped his disciples (and all of us) see that both houses...the one built of the sand and the one built on the rock...are beset by winds, waves, and storms. The difference is not in the occurrence of the storm, but how well the house withstands the foul weather.
The house built on the rock survives. The house built on the sand...falls. But both houses are under siege. Jesus' crucifixion was not a measure of his ability to pray himself free from the cross...it was a demonstration of his absolute trust in his Father's love for him.
Yet how often have I given up on my prayerful self because I think, "Well, if I can't forestall the storm, I must not be praying 'right'...right?" And since my prayer is the "voice" of God to me, I must not really know what God sounds like..." Sigh. Such a looser...
Not any more than Jesus' time on the cross was an indication that he didn't hear God's message of how to escape his storms and trials. Or that his mother and friends weren't praying effectively enough to discover an inspired way to help him escape his "exalting ordeal."
Our storm are poignant opportunities for strengthening our sea legs. Each storm makes me a better sailor. And each storm better prepares me to model a more consistent calm, when the next storm hits...whether it is my house, or someone else's.
And right there, standing on bedrock, with my toes dug in deeply through the surging surf and shifting sand of self-doubt, fear, and uncertainty, I can feel that "perfect peace" that Laura sings about, and that Jesus encouraged us to find, through his example on the cross.
Laura and her husband Martin, are both deeply committed spiritual thinkers who faced a hurricane-like storm when Martin was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. This storm, rather than shake their faith, has strengthened them spiritually individually, and as a family. I am so moved by her willingness to share her expereince through this song.
May you, too, find "perfect peace," in the midst of each exalting ordeal, and earth-shaking storm...
Kate Robertson, CS