It seems these days that many people are living in fear. Fear and anxiety are a common every day occurrence for people. We fear the economy getting bad, we fear losing our jobs, we fear something happening to our children, we fear getting sick or being infected with the Corona Virus. We fear people we don’t know, we fear the other political party, we fear being rejected, failing, being misunderstood. I could keep going.
Why are you so afraid? Jesus spoke those words to his followers after he calmed a storm. It’s a question he is still asking all of us. Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?
Here is what was happening at that time. Jesus had been building his ministry and was attracting many people. He had just spent most of the previous days teaching the people gathered about the Kingdom of God.
So after a day of teaching and then explaining the teaching in simple terms to his disciples, he said to his disciples “Let’s go over the other side.” So off they go to cross the Sea of Galilee. This sea is known for having violent and unexpected storms. When the storm hit, these seasoned fishermen panicked, thinking the storm was going to sink the boats and they would drown. As this storm began, Jesus was sleeping. He was tired from a long day of teaching. They finally woke him up and said; don’t you care if we drown and die!
Does any of this sound familiar? Our lives are full of unexpected violent storms. Things happen that are completely out of our control. It often feels like Jesus is sleeping and does not care that we are in this storm. We feel like we need to cry out and wake him up. We want him to keep us safe and take the storm away.
The disciples knew who Jesus was, they believed what he was teaching them, yet they underestimated his power. They did not fully trust that he would not let them die. We are the same way, we believe in God and may even have read and studied what he has to teach us; yet we don’t always fully trust him with the storms that come up in our lives.
What did Jesus do? Jesus stood up and commanded the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be Still!” Then the wind stopped, and it became completely calm. That’s Jesus! He’s in control, He is all powerful, He loves us.
Think about the storms in your life, the situations that cause you great anxiety. Whatever your difficulty or challenge, you have two options:
- You can worry and stress and assume that Jesus no longer cares like the disciples did.
- Or, you can resist that fear, and trust that God is in control and He will guide you through the storm or calm the storm.
We too often try to take control of the ship and fix things on our own. When we do that and exclude God, he patiently waits for us to come to him and trust him, to put our faith in him.
Here are two lessons we learn in life’s storms:
- You and I must trust what God has told us. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us.
- You and I must remind ourselves who’s in the boat with us. When God permits us to go through a life storm, it’s usually to show us that there is no problem he can’t solve. There is no storm that is too big for him.
Traveling through these storms with Jesus in our boat strengthens our faith, develops our character and deepens our relationship with him. That only happens when we completely trust him no matter what comes our way. Even when we don’t understand why something is happening, God wants us to trust him and not be afraid. When we try to lean on our own understanding we will fall down and miss what God has for us.
Proverbs 3:5-6 say “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Leaning means putting our full weight on him, resting on him without fear of falling. God knows what is best for us, because he has a much bigger perspective than we do.
If you are in the middle of a life storm, know that Jesus is in the boat with you, or you can invite him into your boat. Once there, he will never leave you, he will stick with you through the most violent storms imaginable. Lean on him when you don’t know what your next move should be. Trust God completely, he might not make the storm go away, but he will not let you drown.