The Most Peaceful Place is the Middle of the Storm

Do we pursue peace? Or must God send a storm?
Psalms 34:14 says: Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. So we should be in active
pursuit of peace. Not that we attain it once, and then we can rest, but this is a continuous process. Why
must we pursue something that is already given to us (John 14:27)? Could it be that when we do not
perpetually pursue peace we take it for granted, and as a result God restores it to our priorities by bringing
the storms?

There is an optical illusion where you look at two circles that are each surrounded by 6 other circles. In
one scenario the circles surrounding the middle circle are smaller than it, and in the other scenario they are
bigger than it. The question asked is "which circle is bigger?"

If you are not familiar with this optical illusion, you will end up saying that the circle surrounded by the
smaller circles is larger, when in fact the 2 middle circles are the same size. You see, what we frame
pictures with, has an effect on how they appear to us. Peace is similar to this scenario. This is not to say
that peace is an illusion, but that lack of peace sometimes is. We sometimes have to frame our situations in
the correct way in order to see the peace that is in our midst.

God talks to us frequently, but we often don't hear Him. Sometimes God needs to grab our attentions, so
that we can hear his quiet voice.

Isaiah 26:3 says "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth
in thee." So we are guaranteed peace, as long as our mind is stayed on God. But how often do we allow
our minds to stray away from God? We allow things to draw our attentions away from the Father, and
calamity is a sure way to draw our focus back onto him. Storms certainly get our attention back on God.
Sometime we even willfully run from God. Samson found himself in the belly of the "storm", because he
refused to accept God's direction. But God certainly knows how to get our attention.

Often, we look for joy in the morning after the dark of night, or calm after the storm passes, however,
sometimes peace is to be had right there in the middle of the storm.
In Matthew 14:24-25, we see the disciples stuck on a boat literally in the middle of a storm. They don't
even get an opportunity/think to call on Jesus before he is making his way out to meet them. Jesus could
have canceled the storm from shore, but he, the Prince of Peace, went out to meet them in the middle of
the storm.

Peter felt the peace that Jesus brought with him, so much so that he left the boat and went to meet Jesus
out on the water. Peter was safe as long as he was focused on Jesus. The wind and waves did not pick up
and become worse after Peter started out on the water towards Jesus, they were always in the throws of
the storm, but as Peter lost focus of his peace, and started to pay attention to the storm surrounding him,
he became afraid.
This reminds me of dancers doing repetitive turns or pirouettes. They are told to focus on some unmoving
object in the distance, and to keep their eyes on it as to not become dizzy and disoriented as they turn
around and their surroundings become a blur.

What do we focus on when there is no storm? Do we focus on our peace?

What do we focus on in a storm? The peace in the center, or the distractions of the wind and waves?

Most of us have heard of the "eye of the storm". This is the quiescent center found in such storms as
cyclones, tornadoes and hurricanes. The center or eye of a storm, is a roughly circular area marked by
relatively calm conditions, including light winds, little or no precipitation, and, often, clear skies. If we were
to encounter these conditions on a typical day, we would not be particularly enthused about them. They
would be "no big deal" to us. However, when compared to the violent eyewall immediately surrounding
the eye, where the storm is most dangerous, the eye of the storm is seemingly one of the most peaceful
places on earth.

Sometimes, as humans, we need to see the eyewall, to appreciate, or even recognize the peace of the eye.
Sometimes, during a typical day, we are so distracted by life, that we miss the peace that is there.
Sometimes, the eyewall is to get our attention, so that we can become aware of the peace that God has
already spoken and continues to speak into our lives. Sometimes the only way God can get close enough
to us for us to listen, is to bring a storm, so that we can focus on Him and his peace.

He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Psalms 107:29
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. Mark 4:29

The most peaceful place is in the middle of the storm.
(c)2003 Dr. Annette M. Parrott