…the parched land shall become a pool, and the thirsty lands springs of water…(Isaiah 35:7)

Chided the Billows and Hushed the Wind

By Eric Chaffey


Recently,  the choir that I sing in did a performance of Verdi’s Requiem. It’s a very dramatic work. If you’re familiar with Mozart’s Requiem think, Mozart Requiem on steroids. A lot of emphasis of the terrors of death and the final judgement. From a artistic standpoint it was nice to sing this again. I’ve sung it before when I lived in Oregon. But the spiritual high point of the evening was actually on the drive home from Davis to Sacramento. 

Ordinarily it’s kind of a boring drive. That night was different. In the Sacramento area right now we are experiencing very high winds and heavy rain. The wind on the drive home was in the 40 mph range and it was difficult to keep the car from blowing all over the road and with the rain the visibility wasn’t that great either.

In a way it seemed the weather and driving conditions were a metaphor for life experiences. It’s difficult to stay on course when the tempests are raging, and when something that would ordinarily be enjoyable just doesn’t provide what’s needed. Singing in this choir has been among the loneliest of choral singing experiences I’ve had. There’s the other life challenges as well  i.e. temptation, family health problems, etc. all creating a storm of loneliness and discouragement.  The spiritual experience came through on the drive home. Lately after choir rehearsals, I’ve taken to listening to music from General Conference on the drive home to help elevate my mood and bring the comfort and peace that I so much long for. As I was driving home, a verse from “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus” rang out with new relevance:

“Tell me in accents of wonder, how rolled the sea,
Tossing the boat in a tempest, on Galilee.
And how the Master, ready and kind,
Chided the billows and hushed the wind. “

Just as he calmed the tempests on Galilee, so too he can calm the tempest and fear in our souls. The dangers are still very real and present, but his guidance and care got me and The Clipper home in one piece and the hymns that have been such an important part of my life for so many years brought some peace and comfort to a weary soul.

The temptations may be great and circumstances around us are not what we would have hoped for. But his patient love, guidance, and comfort can see us over some of the rough spots. Another hymn comes to mind that is also uniquely relevant:

Master the tempest is raging, the billows are tossing high,
The sky is o’er shadowed with blackness, no shelter or help is nigh.
Carest thou not that we perish? How cans’t thou lie asleep?
When each moment so madly is threatening, a grave in the angry deep.

Master in anguish of spirit, I bow in my grief today.
The depths of my sad heart are troubled, O waken and save I pray!
Torrents of sin and of anguish, sweep o’er my sinking soul.
And I perish! I perish dear Master, O hasten and take control.

Master the terror is over, the elements sweetly rest.
Earth’s sun in the calm lake is mirrored, and heaven’s within my breast.
Linger O blessed redeemer, Leave me alone no more.
and with joy I shall make the blessed harbour and rest on the blissful shore.

The winds and the waves shall obey thy will,
Peace be still.
Whether the wrath of the storm tossed sea,
Or deamons, or men, or whatever may be,
No water can swallow the ship where lies,
The master of ocean, and earth and skies!
They all shall sweetly obey thy will, Peace be still, Peace be still.
They all shall sweetly obey thy will, Peace, Peace be still. (Hymns 1985 #105)

I’m sure there will still be many storms before my mortal life is ended. But the master of oceans, earth, and sky is still there and will still guide us through the storms of life.

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3 Responses to “Chided the Billows and Hushed the Wind”

  1. Rex Goode said:

    That really IS a dull stretch of road. I drove it many times one year when I was working in Folsom. I can imagine it is pretty hazardous to drive it in driving winds and rains. I guess in another take on your experience, a little storm now and then can turn the mundane into the exciting. I am excited by storms, I think because I live with the consciousness that God is greater than the storm and loves me and will take care of me, so why not enjoy the majesty of it all.

  2. Eric said:

    Thanks Rex, I appreciate your insights. You’re right about a storm making something mundane more exciting. Something I’ve always wanted to do was storm watching on the Oregon coast.

  3. Rex Goode said:

    Yes, great fun. Tsunamis not so much.

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