When Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him. A huge storm arose on the lake so that waves were sloshing over the boat. But Jesus was asleep. They came and woke him, saying, “Lord, rescue us! We’re going to drown!” He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you people of weak faith?” Then he got up and gave orders to the winds and the lake, and there was a great calm. The people were amazed and said, “What kind of person is this? Even the winds and the lake obey him” (Matthew 8:23-27, Common English Bible)!
We were somewhere out in the Atlantic riding out a pretty significant storm. As a signalman I had to be out in these storms some of the time. During this particular storm I had to send a Morse Code flashing light message to another ship. The rain was pouring, the wind was howling and the waves were huge. The ship was pitching forward and water was coming over the bow of the ship. We were also rolling from side to side. At one point I looked down when the ship rolled and all I could see below me was swirling white water. I knew that if I were to fall out of my light stand there would be no rescue. The water was just to rough to launch a lifeboat. If Jesus had asked me that night the question he asked the disciples, “Why are you afraid,” my response would have been, “Look around us Lord. These are really dangerous waters right now. When your Dad created us, He gave us fear for some really good reasons.”
I don’t think there is anything wrong with fear in and of itself. The problem comes in when fear controls our actions. It’s one thing to be afraid. It is something else entirely different when that fear debilitates us to the point we are unable to function. That kind of fear is more dangerous than whatever it is we fear in the first place.
I know I have said before that I have a fear of snakes. It is an irrational fear. There is nothing wrong with a healthy respect for snakes, but a fear that keeps me from responding in reasonable ways is a different story.
My fear of snakes is so strong, I don’t even want to see them on television. I will hide my eyes until the scene is over. There are movies I won’t watch because I know they have snakes in them. I let snakes control too much in my life.
I think what is central to this story is, Jesus didn’t just calm the storm. In calming the storm, Jesus also calmed what was going on inside the disciples, their fear.
What storm can Jesus calm for you?
Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved