One beloved story from the New Testament profoundly teaches us about Peace and the power of stillness.
After a long day of teaching the people along the Galilee shore, the Savior and his dear disciples set sail to cross the sea. I’m sure He was exhausted when he found a place to lay down and quickly fell asleep. We don’t know how long His disciples battled the “great storm of wind,” and waves that “beat into the ship,” but they must have been terribly concerned. These experienced fishermen woke Jesus, saying:
Jesus awoke and rebuked the wind and raging sea, saying: “Peace, be still.” (Mark 4:39)
When I was studying abroad in Israel, there was one Sunday that vividly brought this story to life. Our services were held on the beach of the Sea of Galilee, and a few fellow students had prepared a musical number — Master the Tempest is Raging. Little did they know when they chose this particular song that a storm would be stewing as the backdrop to their performance.
The waves crashed, the wind howled, and the rain blew as we started our meeting. Then the little group got up to sing, and the elements were suddenly calm. There was Peace on the beach as they sang these words:
Master, with anguish of spirit
I bow in my grief today.
The depths of my sad heart are troubled.
Oh, waken and save, I pray!
Torrents of sin and of anguish
Sweep o’er my sinking soul,
And I perish! I perish! dear Master.
Oh, hasten and take control!
As I’ve reflected on that day several decades later, there are three things I think apply to us today.
1 | Jesus Lives to calm the Turbulent Winds and Relentless Waves in our Lives
This year we have felt and seen the ‘raging tempest.’ Maybe you’ve found yourself asking, “do you see what I’m going through?” “where are you when I need you most?” just as His beloved disciples asked as the wind blew their boat upon the sea. No matter how dark the conditions may seem in the world today, whatever our challenges or storms might be, we can look to Christ and be assured that HE LIVES. He knows what we are facing — because He has endured it for us! His ability to calm our hearts and silence our fears is infinite and eternal, just like His love.
“In turbulent and sometimes frightening times, the Savior’s promise of infinite and eternal peace resonates with special power to us, just as His ability to calm the crashing waves must have profoundly affected those who were with Him on the Sea of Galilee that stormy night so long ago.” — M. Russell Ballard
2 | Stillness and Peace are a Process
Stillness and Peace are not one-time events, but rather a process of finding the Prince of Peace in our lives. How would our lives change if we sought out Peace and stillness instead of fear and worry? What if seeking the Savior was our priority instead of trying to face our storms on our own? The adversary doesn’t make it easy for us to find stillness. It can be hard to find time to meditate and be still, but seeking these moments with INTENTION is the key to hearing His voice through personal revelation from the Holy Ghost. He’s waiting to talk with you. Be still and listen.
“Certainly, the Savior of the world understands our mortal limitations, for He teaches us how to feel peace and calm even when the winds blow fiercely around us, and billowing waves threaten to sink our hopes.” — Lisa L. Harkness
3 | Faith is a Choice and Faith is an Action
Christ is always inviting us to take action: Learn, Come, Believe, Listen, Repent, Love, and Remember. These actions help us to increase in faith and trust in our Savior. Our faith grows not only when acting on the amount we have but by choosing to believe Him and remembering our divine nature as a Son or Daughter of God.
We tend to forget the amount of faith the disciples DID have. They had CHOSEN to follow Christ — they were even on the boat WITH Him. No matter the amount of faith we think we have, we can grab hold of the knowledge that we are all loved by God. Clinging to our faith requires action, but He knows our hearts and rejoices with us when we act in faith to serve, love, and devote ourselves to Him and those around us.
“Even in turbulent times, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is gritty and resilient. It helps us sift through unimportant distractions. Faith pushes through discouragement and allows us to face the future with resolve and squared shoulders.” — Lisa L. Harkness
Wouldn’t you love to hear the Savior call out to your personal storm “Peace, Be Still”? His invitation is there and waiting as we intentionally seek out moments of stillness. How can you create space in your days to listen?
I recently finished the book “The Power of Stillness,” which teaches meaningful ways to bring more stillness and meditation into our lives. Welcoming and becoming comfortable with silence might be new to you. Building moments of peace and calm into the rhythm of our day does not come without being deliberate. An excellent place to start is with a minute of silence, then add another minute the next day until you work your way up to a small chunk of time each day.
Begin by removing all distractions and allowing space for your mind to rest, reset, and tune in to heaven’s frequency. Don’t underestimate how stillness can serve you — you may not hear something specific in these exact moments, you may not have a revelatory experience, and it may feel awkward or uneventful in the beginning. You’re not doing it wrong — you’re just practicing.
“Mindful growth begins with powerful acceptance, grounded in the love of God for us right now — in all our messes…Just like we bring the attention back to the breath over and over in meditation, Christ’s mercy allows us to return to Him, over and over again. (Power of Stillness)
You are training your mind to be still. To return from those wandering thoughts and take control of the power we all have to stop the chaos, noise, and turbulent mental content, even for just a moment. How we respond makes a big difference in how quickly our calm and quiet can deepen.
There are many ways to invite stillness into your lives; below are just a few, but it’s most important to find ways that work for you and your personal needs. Pay attention to how your perspective and hope in Christ changes while you are intentionally seeking stillness.
- Take a break from technology by setting reminders on your phone
- Experiment with some deep breathing exercises or guided meditations
- Try a restorative yoga flow practice
- Use a journal to record your thoughts and empty your mind
- Enjoy the sights and sounds of nature by watching a sunrise, sunset or going on a walk