When I Am Afraid

To be human is to know fear. Who, in their right mind, can say, “I am never afraid of anything”? During the pandemic, as I talk to people and read the news, I am seeing a spike in fear. The greatest fear in most people’s hearts is the fear of death. The writer of Hebrews describes those who are in bondage to this universal fear as “those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery” (Hebrews 2:15). But, there’s hope for us! One day Jesus and the disciples were traveling across the lake, and a furious storm broke out. Jesus was resting and “the disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’” (Mark 4:38). As the water was rising in the boat, fear was rising in their hearts. They imagined themselves in the cold dark waters all alone with waves crashing over them. They saw themselves sinking into a watery grave, choking on the water until they were gone forever! Fear is like a video we play in our minds entitled, “The Worst That Could Happen.” Notice how Jesus responds to the disciples. He doesn’t reject them because they fear; He helps them build a bridge between their fear and His faith. After Jesus calmed the wind and waves, He asked them, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40). Do we catch the lesson here? The power over fear is faith! We don’t have to pretend that we never fear. But we must learn from Jesus to replace our fear with trust. Someone once said, “Don’t doubt in the dark what you know is true in the light.” Instead of letting our imagination run wild with “what might go wrong,” faith grabs ahold of Jesus and listens to what He says—even in the midst of howling winds and crashing waves! The Lord gets to the root issue of our fear by asking, “Why are you so afraid?” Through such honest questions, we learn to doubt our fears and trust our Lord. We discover that Jesus is bigger than any problem we will ever face! After Jesus performed the miracle of bringing peace to the storm, the disciples found themselves trading their paralyzing fear of death for the healthy fear of Jesus. They asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:41). So, let’s remember that when we fear, we can be honest with Jesus and bring our fears to Him. The Psalmist David summarizes our victory when he wrote, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” (Psalm 56:3).

Pastor Mark Boucher

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