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Peace in the Storm

James Grayston

It was a week ago that the weather forecast told us that hurricane Gonzalo was on its way. It had battered Bermuda, and was en route across the Atlantic, scheduled to reach the UK on Monday. Sure enough, early Monday evening, the wind speed started to increase until it reached gusts in excess of 80mph during the early hours of Tuesday morning. I recall being awakened around 3.00am. The wind was howling! A bin had been blown over, and cans and bottles were being blown all over the street. What would the morning bring? Trees blown down? Structural damage? Roof tiles missing? Transport chaos?

Living on the west coast of Scotland, we experience our fair share of storms. I recall at the beginning of 2014 standing on the front in Saltcoats, watching the awesome power of the waves crashing into the sea wall, rising higher than the Apollo and engulfing Aldi’s. Let me share with you an amazing story of a storm.

Mark Chapter 4, The Bible, New King James Version

35 On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” 36 Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”

39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”[d] 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

To find peace in the midst of a storm requires a miracle. To find peace in the storms of life requires the same. Horatio Spafford experienced the storms of life. He lost his only son in 1871, and two years later his four daughters perished in a shipping tragedy. In the midst of that storm he pen one of the most famous hymns ever written explain the miracle of the peace he found. Here are the words:

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know,
It is well, it is well, with my soul. 

Refrain:
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul. 

My sin — oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! —
My sin — not in part but the whole, —
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, 'tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
A song in the night, oh my soul!