“His first words to those apostles who were afraid after He rose from the dead are, ‘Peace be with you.’ That’s an occasion where He doesn’t calm the external storm, but He calms the internal storm that’s raging inside of them.”
That was Gary Zimak, who joined John Morales on Morning Air to talk about the times when you ask for God to remove a difficult situation from your life, but He doesn’t.
Zimak began by recounting the story from Chapter 4 of Mark’s Gospel where Jesus and the Apostles have cast off on a boat so that Jesus can teach the large crowd that has gathered on the shore. After telling several parables, Jesus instructs the Apostles to direct the boat to the other side of the sea later in the evening. After Jesus falls asleep, a fierce storm arises and the boat is tossed about by waves and wind.
The Apostles, fearing that they might sink, awaken Jesus to tell Him. He rises up and says, “Quiet! Be still!” And the wind and sea obey.
“‘Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?’ They were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?’” (Mark 4:40-41)
That is very often how we wish the Lord would help us. In our daily lives, we are constantly surrounded by storms, usually not literal ones but metaphorical ones: daily life, family issues, crises with friends, work problems. So, what do we do? We go to Our Lord in prayer. We ask for help, and we ask that He resolves our issues and “calms our storms”. While sometimes that is the way God answers our prayers, sometimes it seems like our problems only stay the same or get worse.
As John Morales explained, “Sometimes [Our Lord] calms the storm. Sometimes, He calms the sailor.” Maybe what we should be asking for is not for Our Lord to take the obstacle away, but for the strength and virtue to overcome that obstacle and see our problems through.
That perspective calls to mind another story from the New Testament, this time from Chapter 20 of John’s Gospel. On the day that Jesus rose from the dead, the Apostles were hiding in the upper room. They were afraid of this new storm: persecution from the Jewish leaders who had just crucified their Messiah. And Jesus appears before them and says, “Peace be with you.”
As Zimak says, He doesn’t calm the external storm, but He calms the internal one raging within them. He brings them peace and resilience and fortitude necessary to weather the storm around them.
We don’t like to be uncomfortable. We don’t like having to face problems that we can’t necessarily fix. We don’t like having to wait. But that’s just why God allows us to go through those situations. They are opportunities to grow in virtue and understanding of the Lord and deepen our relationship with Him.
“It’s in the storms that we realize that we are not in control and we can’t fix our problems on our own,” said Zimak. “And that’s the prime opportunity for us, like St. Paul, to turn to the Lord and say, ‘Lord, when I am weak, I am strong because I have you.’”
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