I have lived in fear most of my life, though you probably wouldn’t know it. It’s not a paralyzing fear, but more like an unwanted houseguest.
I was afraid of the bigger kids in the neighborhood, afraid of what they could do to me. I was afraid of disappointing my parents. Additionally, I was afraid of getting in trouble in school. I was afraid of what people thought about me.
If I am honest, I continue to live in fear.
Is there a reason to be afraid? Absolutely! We live in a hostile and terrifying world. People don’t always like us. They threaten us, gossip about us, and at times harm us. Nature is against us. Storms destroy homes, cars, and even loved ones. Our past, present, and future are against us, leaving us with regrets and worries that can dominate our thinking. We often feel isolated and alone.
Fear in Matthew 14
We should be afraid. Even Jesus’ disciples were afraid. You would think, they of all people had no reason to be afraid. In Matthew 14, they had just witnessed Jesus feed over 5000 people from five loaves of bread and two fish. But when they were on the lake a short time later (without Jesus) things turned from bad to worse. Even as experienced fishermen, they were terrified by “tormenting” waves and wind that was “hostile” to their purpose of reaching the other side. Then things got weird. They looked out on the water and saw something they did not expect. “They were terrified, and said, ‘It is a ghost!’ and they cried out in fear” (Matt. 14:26).
Everything changed in an instant. “But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid’” (Matt. 14:27). He told them not to be afraid because He was with them.
Confidence surged, especially with Peter. He asked if he could walk on the water like Jesus. And that’s just what he did. “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me’” (Matt. 14:30). Notice the wind had not died down, even with Jesus’ presence. He deliberately didn’t change their circumstances. He was asking Peter (and them) to live not by fear but by faith.
Jesus did save Peter but asked him why he doubted. No answer was given because the problem was obvious—“O you of little faith” (Matt. 14:31). At that point, Jesus got in the boat and the wind then “rested.”
Living By Faith
What does it look like not to live by fear but by faith?
Remember He is Present. Know God is present with us in ALL our circumstances. He will not leave us alone. Ever.
Remember He will Provide. Trust that God will provide in expected and unexpected ways. It may be that He provides through our developing and sticking to a budget or with an unexpected check in the mail. Either way, He promises to meet our needs.
Remember He will give Power. God calls us to do many difficult tasks so we must keep our eyes on Him, and not the “wind” around us. It may not be a call to walk on water, most likely it will be loving and serving a difficult family member or co-worker.
Living by faith is having confidence that God is present and will provide and empower you to do His will. Are you ready to walk by faith?
In article photo: USS Nimitz navigates between storms in the Pacific by the U.S. Navy licensed under U.S. Govt. Work