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We had no way of knowing that the storms were coming. It was the ‘80s, and there was no such thing as “weather-radar apps” or iPhones.

My oldest sister and I were in a remote area of Canada, on a fishing trip with Dad. When we set out on the water that morning, the skies were a cloudless blue.

By mid-afternoon, the sky swiftly drained itself of all the blue. Then, the sky turned from silver to a corroding gray. Clouds piled up, out of nowhere, and built themselves into a giant wall.

Lightning bolts, like white fire, fell everywhere. Rain came in sudden, heavy sheets.

Powerless, we looked to our Dad for cues on what to do.

We were miles from camp, in the middle of a lake. Dad quickly but calmly told us to reel in as fast as we could. Even as we reeled, Dad tore a path toward the shore of an island. While he tied the boat to a tree, he yelled over his shoulder, commanding us to crouch down by the rocks, far from the tall stand of pines that might attract lightning.

Rain pelted us. I hid my head between my knees, while my breath came out in short, hot spurts.

I didn’t dare look up. That sky seemed to sense my fear, and tried to burrow its own brand of fright straight into my middle. I looked only at the feet of my father, who crouched beside me as the rain kept falling. I stared at his feet until the clouds were all wrung out. I stared at his feet until the sun came out again.

Even as the storm raged on around us, my father was my peace.

I still remember that afternoon vividly, whenever life’s punishing storms appear like the color of coal, as a bandit to steal the light from my life. I remember that moment, because I remember where I found my peace: in the reassuring presence of my dad.

Older now, I know that my earthly father can’t be my ultimate peace — even though it was sufficient for a child, on a rain-battered shore. But that moment has become a powerful metaphor for a biblical truth that all of us need today, when the clouds threaten.

That truth is this:

Peace is not the absence of storms. Peace is the presence of God.

Friend, behold your Father, in the storm. He is racing you toward shore, and sitting with you, in the rain. He is your peace, when the sky is falling.

You’ll remember a story about another boat, caught in another storm. Once upon a time, Jesus and His friends were on the water. A raging storm dropped from the sky while Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples cried out: “Don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

Jesus got up and spoke to the waves:

“‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” {Mark 4:39}

Today, some of you are under the darkening surprise of a storm. Maybe it’s less of a storm, and more of a relentless drizzle, leaving you chilled to the core. It might feel as if Jesus is asleep on the job. But take heart, Jesus is awake, alive in you. Call out to Him, and listen for His voice, speaking to the storm inside of you.

His words have the power to rebuke storms. And when you dare not look to the menacing skies, afraid of what you’ll see, look at the feet of your Father, kneeling beside you.

Peace, he says. Be still.

What promises from God bring you peace in the midst of your storms?

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  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Jennifer,
    I love how you weave your stories and how they relay pertinent truths, I need to be reminded of, about God. Sometimes it may not be a full storm, but a persistent drizzle that saps us of our strength. Whether in the storm or in the drizzle, I try to remind myself of God’s promise to never leave nor forsake me. He also promises to lead me THROUGH the valley and not leave me stuck in it. Also, whatever I’m going through may seem strong, He is stronger still…His grace is sufficient…He will give me all that I need to make it through. He will not let the waters sweep over my head. Just typing these truths here helps me by declaring them in the face of the storms…and the drizzle. Thank you!!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      “He is stronger still.” Yes…. Such a good word, Bev. Thanks for being here this morning.

  • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

    That promise from God — that He will never leave nor forsake me — has buoyed me so many times, too, Jeanne. Thanks for sharing.

  • Lynn D. Morrissey

    Jennifer, you always leave me with hope and peace with every post, and with some kind of quote, some kind of handle that I can take w/ me and to which I can cling. This time the handle is a *hand*–His! Thank you. I have been so fearful lately with the horrendous turbulence in our world–storms rising menacingly from nowhere (that’s one thing that makes them so frightening, just as you experienced as a child; they’re unexpected)…there’s Ferguson (I live nearby) and St. Louis has one of the highest homicide rates in the nation, there’s ISIS (and there’s ISIS and there’s ISIS and there’s ISIS) . . . these terrorists attacks are one of the greatest, unexpected storms I fear. I will just stop there. It’s enough to consider. Storms shake me right down to the ground, right down to my foundation. And it’s then that I remember Him, that I *must* remember Him. He alone is my foundation, my solid Rock. Though the earth may tremble and quake, because He is my foundation, I shall not be moved. I must remember Him and His promises…that He will never leave nor forsake me, and that He has already numbered my days (storms and all) and that my times are in His hands alone. Thank you for turning my mind towards my Father, Jennifer. With Him is where I really need to dwell.
    Love
    Lynn
    PS I hope that Lydia has a beautiful fourteenth birthday!!!

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      Lynn,

      I wrote this post last week, and it was scheduled to appear today. Given all that has happened with ISIS over the last few days, it couldn’t be more timely. … Also, I keep your community, and nearby Ferguson, in my prayers. As you may recall, a group of us headed down there to meet with residents and ministry leaders.

      Thank you for the birthday greetings for Lydia!

      • Lynn D. Morrissey

        God knew when women would most need to read this. His timing is amazing. And thank you for your prayers for our community. I do recall your coming.

  • Joanne Peterson

    Jennifer, this took my breath away. It goes right along with what Jesus has been teaching me, His Name is Peace, so He can only be peace to us. We just as you trusted your dad, we simply need trust and ask when we are afraid, and His peace will fill us. This goes along with the weapon of peace is a defensive weapon, but I heard a teaching and am learning the Peace is an offensive weapon. Too long to get into an explanation here, but Jesus keeps us standing firm, walking, and fighting. Peace isn’t fluffy, but powerful. We cannot be moved when we are in Peace. Blessings, Joanne

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      Joanne,

      Oh, that’s rich. Peace as an offensive weapon. We view peace as something softer, but I am understanding where you’re going with that, even without your extended explanation. I appreciate you, Joanne. “Peace isn’t fluffy, but powerful.”

  • Veronica

    Hi Jennifer, “Peace is the Presence of God.” When the storm is at its fiercest, when the rain comes down in sheets, it can be hard to catch my breath, but His Presence is a promise. My Good Shepherd will never leave me, never forsake me. He has overcome the world and because of this, I can take heart and cling to Him. So I will not fear. I will not be dismayed. He is my strength and my help. He upholds me. He is with me; today, tomorrow and until the blessed day I get to see His Beautiful Face. Thank you Friend for your sweet encouragement. Xox

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      You are so welcome, Veronica. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Cathy Ann Evangelista

    We all need reminders of our Heavenly Father, Who was, Who is and is to come! Going thru a spiritual storm myself…

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      Praying for you this morning, as you face your storm, Cathy Ann. May He hold you especially close.

  • Rebecca Jones

    Great story, full of truths, and if we don’t have earthly fathers to count on we have a heavenly one. Jesus is always there to calm the storm. Let the Holy Spirit drizzle.

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      Amen. Holy Spirit rain down.

  • Nancy

    Thank you, Jennifer. How good of God to provide for us on this day!

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      You’re welcome, Nancy. Thanks for following along at incourage.

  • Penny

    Jennifer,

    I know how unpredictable our Canadian weather can be with up to four seasons in one day. What a relief for you to have found Peace that day.
    As I began to write this on what is a stormy day (with treacherous wind & rain) I received a distress call from a friend who was locked out. Thankfully my husband was able to get over and help.
    I remember during my parent’s services the sky opened up and released unexpected storms. While it left some understandably shaken I felt a sense of calm.

    Thank-you Jenniferfor your reminder…….
    Peace is not the absence of storms. Peace is the presence of God.

    Penny

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      Thanks for sharing, Penny. By the way, I am smitten with the region of Canada to which I refer to in this story. We spent many years fishing at Lake of the Woods.

  • http://michelemorin.wordpress.com Michele Morin

    Isaiah is my go-to prophet, and I love his words in chapter 26: You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stay on Thee.
    Remembering his presence is key for me even when there is no storm on the horizon.

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      Such good words, especially in these times of turmoil. Thank you, Michele.

  • Beth Williams

    Jennifer,
    Wonderful word story! I could see you crouching by your dad-and just like you I got the picture of Jesus being there for us! There have been many storms lately in the world and in our personal lives! My prayer is that Jesus come soon! I remind myself that He is always with me and if He brings me to it He will see me through it!
    Blessings :)

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      Praying with you, Beth.

  • http://www.marybonner.net/ Mary Bonner

    Peace is the presence of God…Jennifer, these inspired words you have penned here may have been written just for me. Thank you.

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      Good morning, Mary. Praying for you this morning, for whatever turmoil you’re facing … and for our world as well, with storms raging all around. Lord Jesus, Come.

  • http://www.calistabaker.com/ Calista

    Truly, it’s the promises of His presence that bring me the most peace in life’s storms. You have shared with us such a beautiful illustration of one of the greatest truths we can ever know. Thank you!

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      Right there with you, Calista. Resting under the wings of the Almighty.

  • http://www.onemomsguide.com Gina Elder

    I love this comparison! I went through a terrible life storm in 2005. At the time, I took great comfort in the song, Praise You in this Storm, by Casting Crowns. It was popular at the time and frequently on the radio. Your story brought me back to that time in my life and how my Heavenly Father guided me through it all. Thank you for sharing this today!

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      Gina,

      I know and appreciate that song so much. Thanks for bringing it to mind.

  • http://www.eclecticaffinity.com Jacquelyn

    “Peace is not the absence of storms. Peace is the presence of God.” <– It’s so true, even when we’d rather the storm or drizzle would hurry up and pass. Thanks for writing this!

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      You’re welcome, Jacquelyn. Thanks for joining us here at incourage. Be blessed today.

  • http://freedtofly.me Trudy Den Hoed

    I love this analogy, Jennifer. I’m so glad you were spared in the storm! Even though I didn’t have that kind of “safe” feeling with my earthly father, I will keep trying to remember I have a safe Heavenly Father. I always love that Bible story. So often I get all afraid, not remembering Jesus is right in the boat with me. “Peace is not the absence of storms. Peace is the presence of God.” Such a deep truth!

  • Nancy Ruegg

    “Peace is not the absence of storms; peace is the presence of God.” Thank you for that, Jennifer. Powerful truth expressed in a powerful way! That story of your childhood experience out on the lake provides wonderful imagery, reminding us our best strategy in a storm is to keep our eyes on Jesus. I, too, love Isaiah 26:3, but also appreciate all of the promises listed below by (in)courage friends. Wonderfully uplifting!

  • http://marthaorlando.blogspot.com/ Martha Orlando

    I love the analogy you drew here between your experience at the feet of your earthly father and how we can experience God’s peace in life’s storms when we sit at the feet of our heavenly Father. Beautiful, Jennifer!

  • Lovelle

    I just got a chance to read this yesterday but I absolutely adored this post. It is such a good reminder attached to a beautiful story.

    My favorite part: “Peace is not the absence of storms. Peace is the presence of God.”

    Thanks for the reminder that I needed during the somewhat stormy season I am going through. You are a blessing.<3