35 That evening, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side. 36 Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus along in a boat just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37 A violent windstorm came up. The waves were breaking into the boat so that it was quickly filling up. 38 But he was sleeping on a cushion in the back of the boat. So they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to die?” 39 Then he got up, ordered the wind to stop, and said to the sea, “Be still, absolutely still!” The wind stopped blowing, and the sea became very calm. 40 He asked them, “Why are you so afraid? Don’t you have any faith yet?” 41 They were overcome with fear and asked each other, “Who is this man? Even the wind and the sea obey him!” (Mark 4, vv.35-41)
There is no doubt fear is one of the enemy’s most often used “go-to” in order to get us off course. Sometimes the progression follows this model: Worry > Anxiety > Stress > Fear. Sooner rather than later, it may even seem like we are frozen, under a cloud of darkness, wondering what we should do, if anything.
For several months now, much has been going on all around us. No one can (or would) deny it. All you have to do is read the paper, follow some blogs, watch the news, or engage in a chat with a friend. There are stress points and things we should be concerned about. Many are asking questions that we may, this side of glory, never have answers for.
There are conflicts, crimes, deaths, diseases, divisions, financial woes, natural disasters, persecutions, terrorist acts, unemployment, and wars. We wonder about what kind of nation and world we will pass on to future generations. We worry about our families, our friends, everything familiar, and life itself. It is seen and observed daily, in real time.
But what does worry add? What can fear, really do? Jesus was consistent in His direct confrontation on “fear,” when He stated this question: “Can any of you, by worrying, add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6, v.27). He goes on there, in that segment of The Sermon on the Mount, to call out some of the things we may/might/do worry about. He asks us the same question(s) today.
Most of us have struggled (or are struggling) with fear, of some sort. It would be almost unnatural and impossible not to. But through a saving faith and with the undeniable presence of God helping me, He has taught me that the spiral to fear need not happen. The truth: He is in control; He’s got it. Now, that may not be popular or comfy-cozy at first or second bite, but it is true. Either all things are in His hands or nothing is. I’ve decided it’s all things, and I’m sticking with it.
I want to assure you…and myself too…that no matter where you are in or on your faith journey, that in time and only with God’s help, as you grow in His grace and learn more about Him: anxious thoughts will diminish; worry will descend; stress levels will be brought down; and although fear may come in and be experienced from time to time, it will not have control. With God in you, and working through you, you won’t be moved or paralyzed.
The Word of God gives life and truth, in fullness. His Word does not come back void. Often times, our belief is tested in our response: the choices we make, the decisions we cast, in the priorities we give. While we may have no idea what is coming or what the future may hold, we know the One Who does, and He knows us. Paul writes in Romans 8, v.31: “What should we say in response to this? If God is for us, who (or what) can be against us?” He gives the clear answer starting in v.32, and I encourage you to read it and saturate on it, that it would seep deeply in your very soul.
Let us be grateful, and humbled, that God is for us, because He is!