January 10, 2024

By Becky Owen, World Missions

Scripture meditation: Matthew 8:23-27

One night, anxiety kept me from peacefully drifting off to sleep. I couldn’t turn it off. It consumed my heart, mind, and body. I felt a storm within me. The song “Calm Me, Lord” pointed me to the story in Matthew 8 where a furious storm threatened the disciples. Naturally, they reacted in fear. In fact, they even woke Jesus, begging him to save them. But Jesus asked them, “Why are you so afraid?”

A curious question amid such turmoil, but a fair one, considering who was asking it.

Leaving them to reflect on his question, Jesus turned and rebuked the wind and waves, and they became calm. I too pleaded with Jesus to calm the storm controlling me. I surrendered to him. God granted me peace. I slept. Anxiety has a way of creeping back in, though, so each day, I renewed my pursuit of peace.

Peace must be pursued because the opposite of peace pursues us. Life circumstances—a medical diagnosis, a natural disaster, disagreements, or even a problem with a car or house—can instantly cause personal insecurity that ripples out to relationships around us. Although these relationships may have nothing to do with what is influencing us, they will reap the fruit we bear.

A life dominated by anxiety, fear, second-guessing, and anger is not the result of God’s Spirit at work in us. These restrict our love, patience, joy, and other spiritual fruit. They draw us away from God and the peace he wants us to experience and pass on to others.

Pursuing peace means:

  • Reaching over a relational fracture to extend forgiveness
  • Seeking deeper understanding before making judgments
  • Attempting to reconcile, even though it may take more than one try
  • Finding creative solutions to resolve conflict without physical or emotional violence

If we do not approach each interaction with the power of peace, it is easy to drop baskets of rotten fruit into even our dearest relationships. How much verbal and physical violence has its roots in hearts and minds that are not at rest in Jesus?

When our hearts are at peace, we are set free to value others as God does. When we live life in light of who God is, and rest in him, it reshapes our emotional experience and changes even our physical reactions. We begin bearing fruit that comes from the Spirit.


Father, you are always with me, but often I forget. Help me to remember that you know each detail of my life, and that you can handle it all. Calm my heart and teach me to trust in you. Let that peace overflow in love and grace toward others. Amen.

Multimedia experience – “Calm Me, Lord” sung by St. Albert Catholic Choir, Nigeria