Unshakable Hope

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Why are you afraid?

“And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” (Matt 8:24-:26) 

I suppose that even the most faith-filled Christian would experience some level of fear if they found themselves in a situation like the above. But I know that a doctor delivering news of a life-threatening diagnosis, a loss of a job and insensitive debt-collectors calling day-after-day, can instill that same kind of “Save us, Lord; we are perishing” fear.

Unfortunately, we don’t really know if we have genuine faith until that faith is tested. I believe this is the reason that Jesus allowed His disciples, and us, to go through so many of these nail-biting situations. Trials force us off of the proverbial fence. Tested faith is enduring and overcoming faith; it’s faith that can empathize with and encourage others who find themselves in the midst of a raging storm – those who are feeling as if Jesus is asleep in the boat.

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” (James 1:2-3)

Faith (in Christ) is the opposite of and the antidote to fear. But like all antidotes it takes time to work and the quicker we start building faith, the more effective it will be. We build faith (overcome fear) by reading the Bible, through prayer and by surrounding ourselves with faith-filled people.

Faith is also preventive medicine. When faced with a life-altering situation, the person of great faith will experience little fear and the person of little faith will experience great fear. So, if you’re not going through a trial now, start building your faith because the Bible tells us we’ll all face trials.

“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NLT)

It seems that Jesus attempted to strengthen the faith of His disciples before getting in that boat. That day, the disciples saw Jesus heal a leper, a paralyzed man, Peter’s sick mother-in-law and then, for a grand finale, just before stepping in the boat and sailing into the storm, “…they brought to (Jesus) many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill.” (Matthew 8:16)

Obviously Jesus knew that His disciples would face this test of faith just as He knows when our trials are coming. It might seem like He’s asleep, but if we rely on Him to deliver us from the trial, we won’t wonder, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” like the men in that storm-tossed boat; we’ll be able to answer that question emphatically as those same men were able to do soon after this incident; “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16)

As I said above, everyone will eventually face something that they are powerless to handle in their own physical and/or emotional strength. This is the place where we discover how weak and fragile we are and how big and powerful God is.

 “…we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction…that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead…” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9)

 

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49 thoughts on “Why are you afraid?

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  1. Pingback: Not or well Ashamed of the gospel and admitting to be a God loving person – Belgian Ecclesia Brussel – Leuven

  2. Pingback: Fear in your own heart or outside of it | From guestwriters

  3. Describing the context of that event – the miracles Christ had performed – puts it in perspective and makes the Lord’s comment more meaningful: they had seen all of this and yet they still feared. I guess it’s like our lives – we have all these good experiences, occasions where God saves us or reassures us, etc. – and we still so often forget about it when something difficult comes along. Thanks for providing that context.

  4. My mum once said that sometimes, God takes power and authority from a parent’s hand over their child for his own purpose. Lately, I’ve been feeling like God was not with me and I’m alone. I’ve been expecting good news because if I got it, it means God is with me. Well, so far, THREE YEARS later, I haven’t gotten any good news. It’s a struggle and I laugh now at the fact it’s been three years, but it hasn’t been that funny 🙂 I’ve cried a lot but through your blog, I know now God never left me. I kind of knew that already but I shrugged him off in pride. Thank you. I’m glad you looked at my blog. I wouldn’t have found you otherwise.

    • Lola, I know what it feels like when it seems that God’s abandoned you. But our faith is not a “feeling,” like marriage, it’s a commitment; I’ve found that the times I matured the most in my faith was during those periods when I didn’t “feel” God’s presence; it is during those times that we’re looking for Him and we grow in faith when we’re searching.
      “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

  5. Bill, you are a beautiful writer with an even more beautiful faith. There’s nothing that reaches our hearts like the Truth.

    Your story + Scripture = Incredible healing to the world.

    Keep going…

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