Fear versus Faith


            Now it happened, on a certain day that he got into a boat with his disciples.  And he said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.”  And they launched out.  But as they sailed he fell asleep.  And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy.  And they came to him and awoke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!”  Then he arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water.  And they ceased, and there was a calm.  But he said to them, “Where is your faith?”  And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, “Who can this be?  For he commands even the winds and water, and they obey him!” (Luke 8: 22-25.)


            The Sea of Galilee is the lowest (below sea level) freshwater lake in the world.  Because it sits beside the Mediterranean Sea, warm and cool air collide, often creating fierce storms that arise almost instantaneously.  Jesus and his disciples were crossing this body of water when a violent squall engulfed them; threatening to capsize their vessel.  As the Lord slept peacefully in the back of the boat, his disciples began to panic.  Fear had caused them to forget who was riding with them. They also failed to recall that moments earlier he had said, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake;” thus ensuring that they would successfully complete their journey. After being awakened from his nap, the Lord calmed the wind and the waves; subsequently asking them, “Where is your faith?”  Fear and faith are natural enemies.  The presence of one often signals the absence of the other (and vice versa.)  Most people become fearful when they lose faith in the God who dwells within them; a benevolent creator who will never leave them, nor forsake them.  As David once wrote in Psalm 23, “I shall fear no evil, for you are with me.”

            Many years ago, I regularly interacted with a man who frequented the coffee shop where I often studied.  He habitually appeared to be under a great deal of stress. He seemed fearful, anxious, unsettled, and distracted.  One day, he leaned over and said, “Can you give me a scripture, or something from the bible that will help me to remember that ‘God will never give me more than I can handle?’”  So I recited the story of Jesus calming the storm.  Although the disciples feared that they were going to capsize and drown, God kept them from perishing.  I told the man that the size of the waves and the level of desperation were unimportant; instead, what truly mattered was who was riding in the boat with him.  I proclaimed that if Jesus was in his heart, he would always remain afloat.

            Today, our lives are like vessels sailing across the surface of the ocean.  Sometimes the sea is tranquil, and sometimes it’s stormy. However, those who invite Jesus to accompany them on their journey will receive God’s promise; for the Lord has declared that every true believer will eventually make it to the other side. No one traveling with the Son of God will ever slip beneath the waves.  By means of His divine power, He will calm the wind; He will quiet the seas; and you will receive the “peace that surpasses all understanding.”  When you feel afraid, simply remember God’s promises and continue moving forward. Cling to the faith and you will live, because the Lord is with you.

            “Lord Heavenly Father, we ask that Your Son would accompany us as we journey through this life.  Protect us from the storms that might arise along the way. Increase our faith. May we never fear, knowing that You are always with us.  Grant us Your mercy, Your wisdom, and Your peace.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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