In the Eye of the Hurricane

What does peace look like in real life?

“When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot Thou hast taught me to say, ‘it is well, it is well with my soul’”.

Do you know how this grand old hymn came to be written? It’s clear it came from the mind and heart of someone who had few difficulties, isn’t it? Nope. The author had the fruit of peace growing and active in his soul. You see, Horatio Spafford had just lost his four daughters; their ship sank in 1873 during an ocean crossing, sparing only his wife. Their only son had died in 1870 and the Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed Spafford’s finances. If anyone had the right to shake his fist at God and cry, “Enough! Why did You do this to me?” he did.dove of peace rising

But he chose to immerse himself in peace.

Peace. The peace that passes all (human) understanding (Philippians 4:7).  The peace that is from Jesus, and is not like what the world gives (John 14:27). Seeing a pattern here? Peace, like all fruit of the Spirit, cannot be obtained from any source but the God who is our peace (Ephesians 2:14). We can’t grit our teeth, stomp our feet and declare, “I will have peace!”

What does peace look like? It’s kind of like the eye of a hurricane. Destruction and turmoil can be all around us, but our hearts and souls are quiet. Jesus and the disciples were in a boat when a huge storm blew in. The men freaked out and accused Jesus of not caring about them, because He was sleeping through it all. No worries, just trust. Incredible peace.

And what gave Him that peace? His unshakeable comprehension that God was in charge, that His Father loved Him, and that nothing would happen without God’s knowledge. It was like Jesus was in the eye of the hurricane, but his men were in the swirling storm.

I wish I could say I lived in that kind of peace, but stuff happens to disturb it.

peace sinking into oceanA few years ago I was forced into early retirement due to burnout. Several of my coworkers expressed their support of me and said they hated what was happening as the supervisors piled up the evidence against me. All through it, I tried to follow some wise advice I’d been given: “Press hard into God. Don’t let them rob your peace. God is your strength.” Through His presence I was able to maintain a Godly attitude at work up to and including the day I packed my office and left.

Was I angry? You bet I was. The whole thing was unfair. But His peace sustained me. I could never have mustered it up on my own.


Funny thing about peace—you don’t realize how much you have until it’s challenged. Hopefully you discover more than you thought might be there. But when you realize you need still more, God is right there, offering Himself. He is indeed our peace.

And His presence waters and nurtures our spirits to grow that quiet fruit.

This is the fifth part in an 11 part series on the fruit of the spirit

Next time: Longsuffering

Part 1| Fruit-Tastic!

Part 2| How Does Your Garden Grow?

Part 3| But I Can’t Even Love Myself!

Part 4| Put on a Happy Face?

Part 6| I Want Patience, and I Want it NOW!


all illustrations courtesy of