Peace in the Middle of the Storm / by Jeff Tacklind

“God Truly waits for us in things, unless indeed he advances to meet us.”  Pierre Teilhard De Chardin 

These past few weeks have felt oddly serene.  There is a calm in my soul, but not the kind that comes from a lessening or diminishing of conflict or chaos.  Just the opposite, really.  The storm clouds in life have only seemed to loom more ominous on the horizon.  Change is coming.  I can feel it.

And in the past, my mind would be whirring away in anticipation of each and every scenario I can fathom.  To be ready. To not be caught off guard.  This has felt like wisdom until now.  Descartes would doubt his way to knowledge.  I choose to worry my way to safety.

But honestly, this time, I’m in over my head.  There is too much going on that feels beyond my control.  Too much honesty and vulnerability out there.  I feel exposed, and the only one I have to blame is myself.

I have a book coming out in three weeks, and that is a bit terrifying really.  Like waving a banner for all the critics, beckoning them to aim their shots over here at me.  I much prefer to keep my head down.  To remain in the safety of the trenches.  To observe rather than engage.

And yet part of me, the truer part, is in a bit of revolt.  That part of me that longs to be known.  To speak from the depths of my heart.  To enter the arena.  Borrowing from Brene and Roosevelt…to dare greatly.

But this comes with a loss of control.  There is a helpless feeling that comes with vulnerability.  And I don’t like it.  At least I didn’t like it.

But what I’m finding is a surprising sense of peace that comes when we reach the end of our rope. It comes from resting in truth, regardless of perceptions or misunderstandings, or unpredictable outcomes. I think I would call it simply, faith. Faith that I’m being pulled somewhere. That I’m being led.

 This peace never seems to come from resolution, but instead from a momentary glimmer of God’s awareness. Like the fortuitous lunch meeting I had the other day with the friend of a friend who, after a wonderful meal and time of connection, offhandedly mentioned the fact that he had seen our conversation over lunch in a dream six weeks prior, and that I had been even wearing the same clothes.

Now, I realize that I do tend to wear a version of the same outfit most days, but this meeting felt so providential even before the mention of the dream.  But the birds eye, or God’s eye, view of an event as small as a lunch meeting did wonders for my soul.  It was like God telling me the number of hairs on my head.  A seemingly inconsequential bit of information, and therefore profound. I hear God whispering, “I’ve got you.”

And suddenly the clouds seem less dark, and the storm less threatening.  The outcomes remain unknown by me, but not by Him.  And with that comes a sense of ease.  Of letting go of control, and with it all the unhealthy, nervous energy that worrying wastes.

Peter writes, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

 So much of this rings true for me today.  When I do get those glimpses of God’s hand at work, I’m so often struck by its kindness. It is a gentle reassurance.  Like Jesus saying, “I’m here, Jeff.  Just because I might be taking a nap in the front of the boat, doesn’t mean I don’t care.”

I love this story in the gospels. The fishermen caught out at sea in the midst of a storm.  They are terrified.  And Jesus is just napping away.

 I can relate to them. And typically, in panic, I would wake him up too.  To cry out with the disciples, “Don’t you care if we drown?”  But I know he does.  I have seen the glimpses, and the tender reminders.  And so this time, I’m gonna just ride out the storm.  To trust that God could quiet the storm, even if he doesn’t.  To let go of all that anxiety and simply trust.  This time, I’m going to let him finish his nap.  Maybe I’ll take one as well.