Fall to Pieces or Peace in a Storm in the New Year?

Fall to Pieces or Peace in a Storm in the New Year? December 28, 2023

Fall to Pieces or Peace in a Storm in the New Year?

When you face the storms of life, which do you cling to—pieces or peace? Look at the world today. Israel and Hamas, Russia and Ukraine, our own lives versus the rest of the world. We’ll all face adversity—life’s hurricanes and earthquakes, illness, being “the other,” not fitting in… But how are you going to react? Fall to pieces or slide into peace? Two stories of life and death come to mind in the Bible. One Old Testament, the other from the New Testament.

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Will we be like Elijah in the cave?

Story One

Elijah was on the run. He’d listened to God’s directive, and he’d wiped out all the false prophets of Jezebel—the queen of the land—and she was out for blood, namely his blood. Without hesitation or word from God, Elijah realized he was doomed and ran for the desert. No one on earth could save him. He was being chased, he was without food or water, and he was in an exposed position. He laid down and prayed for death.

Fast Forward

When God didn’t answer his prayer for death, Elijah found himself forty days later in a cave. He was alone. He had done things, terrible things in the name of a God whom he had never seen or really experienced. Elijah was contemplating God and his fate when God asked him, “What are you doing here? Go stand on the mountain [don’t hide in a cave] and watch me pass by.” Elijah saw all the worst things of life go by: wind, tornados, lightning, storms, earthquakes, fires. But God wasn’t in them. No. He didn’t feel that spark of knowing, that inner light that recognizes the Creator. It wasn’t until Elijah heard the quiet, peace-filled, almost inner whisper and focused on it—that he realized he was in the presence of God.

Do you have enough faith to follow any of God’s callings?

Story Two

Jump to the New Testament. Jesus had faced a very long day. He had preached to thousands, fed them with only five loaves and two fish, healed them, expelled demons, and was pooped by the end. He sent his followers across the water to the next port-of-call while he recharged his batteries by praying alone. The disciples, like Elijah, grumpily faced great winds, storms, and lightning. And much like Elijah, they were afraid for their lives when a storm seemingly blew up out of nowhere.

Suddenly, they saw Jesus, as if a ghost, walking perfectly calm on the water toward them, saying, “Don’t be afraid.”

Peter, a pure reactionist, challenges Jesus. Out of bravado, out of fear, out of knowing… we don’t know why, but Peter asks to join Jesus, who calmly says, “Come.” Peter—now focused on Jesus—does precisely that. He hops out of the boat, not thinking, just reacting to Jesus’s call, and begins to walk on the water. When Peter’s focus on Jesus wanes, the storm, the lightning, the wind, and the inconceivable fact that he was walking on water overtake him, and he begins to sink back into his perceived reality, the crashing waves of unimportant things.

So, what do we do with this in the New Year?

These stories are perfect for you and me today as we face a New Year head on. We face the raging storm of war. The clashing lighting of indifference, the earthquake of hate. And personally, what wind, storms, lightning, earthquakes, and fires do we face daily? Deadlines, family drama, self-made situations that eat our brains and spirits? Those, “People who have it in for us.” The knowing, “I should do this and that, but I just don’t feel like it.” Noticing a lump, discoloration on your skin, or little aches and pains you didn’t have before. These are the things we allow to remove our focus on what’s important. Listening to God’s whisper, listening to Jesus’s “Come.”

So, what did Elijah and Jesus do? They found time alone. They took time to pray, to be quiet, to be alone with God.

And what did God do? He replied, “Be not afraid. I’m here. I got you. Now get outta the boat, focus on Me… and walk on water!”

So, what will you choose? To fall to pieces or find peace?

The choice is yours.

About Ben Bongers KM
Ben Bongers was an international operatic tenor and practicing sommelier for 30 years based in San Francisco, CA, and Europe. He has written monthly articles for trade magazines in wine and singing over a long and lustrous career. After becoming a semi-full-time caretaker for his parents, he earned an MA in Gerontology (the study of aging and care) and was asked to publish in an eldercare textbook in 2020. He has written several books, all published by EnRoute Books and Media. His first novel, THE SAINT NICHOLAS SOCIETY, has won many awards, and his other two, TRUE LOVE—12 Christmas Stories My True Love Gave to Me, and THE FARMER, THE MINER, THE ARTISAN (a children’s book) are both up for writing awards. Ben is a Knight in the Order of Malta and helped start an overnight homeless shelter at his San Francisco, CA parish. Today, he is a Permanent Diaconate Candidate in Kansas City, MO. You can read more about the author here.

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