It’s totally normal to be afraid… isn’t it? If you are in a boat, and a storm comes up, and it is highly likely that the boat will be capsized, wouldn’t it be normal to be ‘very concerned’ about this
Have you heard the twist on the old saying, “If you can keep your head whilst everyone else around you is losing theirs, you probably don’t understand the seriousness of the situation!”
The weird thing is that, when in a boat in a violent storm, Jesus did not seem to think it was normal for his disciples to be worried.
“Why are you so frightened?” Jesus answered. “What little faith you have!”
He expected them to have faith, that is, realisation of the heavenly resources available for them in God. He did not expect their minds to be going down the path of “But, we are going to drown!”
But isn’t that what ‘normal’ people would think? It seems that Jesus thinks that being afraid, like the disciples were, is not the normal response for them… and perhaps us!
The outcome that they anticipated does not happen, not because of their expert sailing but because of this extraordinary action of Jesus…
“Then he got up and ordered the wind and the waves to stop, and there was a great calm.”
It’s stories of Jesus, like this, that ‘mess with my head’. Fear (other than fear of the Lord, which is something alltogether different), is not meant to be part of my thinking. That is so different from how I have been taught and how I have learned to think.
So, back in the boat, what were the disciples doing? They were trying to save themselves by bailing the water out as fast as they could. It still had not fully dawned on them that ‘the Kingdom of God was at hand’. The rulership of the Father was available. They could have asked Father what to do, knowing He was looking after them. Perhaps if they had realised who He was and who they were in His eyes, they could have told the storm to stop too. Just as they had, and would, tell people to be healed in Jesus name… and it would happen.
I had just such a dilemma recently on the way to catch a plane in Sicily. By all accounts, I should miss the flight. I was on a coach that would arrive at the airport as my plane was taking off. The hour and a half bus journey was a mixture of extremes. Half of the time I would be willing the bus to go faster. Perhaps it would arrive ten minutes early and I would just make it. Perhaps if I did another mental calculation, I would discover that I would arrive on time. The other half of the time I would connect with God in my depths. I would know His peace, I could hear His whisper. ‘It will be OK’. Perhaps the bus would supernaturally arrive early. Everything was OK but I could not stay in that state. The Holy Spirit started talking to me about my fear. “This is not the best time to look at this!” I argued. He disagreed! It was an uncomfortable hour and a half. God was pulling down my anxieties. I was entering deeper levels of trust and humility as I stopped trying to save my self. Anxiety is exhausting. Faith is so peaceful. Oh, and the flight? It was the only flight on the board, delayed by fifteen minutes. I made my flight.
He wants to go deeper in dealing with our fears and hidden anxieties. Why? Because he is angry with us? No. Because they are actually stopping us seeing what God wants to do in and through us. They blind us to how we can cooperate with God to see the miraculous. Our anxieties drive us to try to save ourselves.
He truly is our strong tower. It is not a Christian platitude. He is our salvation, and that is not a weak comfort that merely psychologically helps me. His power, presence and love is available here and now to invade our lives until eventually we are so overwhelmed that we find it impossible to be afraid, whatever life throws at us. Then we realise that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Nothing!