And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” -Matthew 8:23-27
Check out last Sunday’s sermon here.
Sometimes I can fall into the trap of thinking wrongly about my fears (or many other sins and weaknesses). Maybe you can relate. Here’s how my wrong thinking starts.
Step One: Encounter a fearful, worrisome situation.
Step Two: Improperly Paul’s teaching about boasting in his weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Step Three: Think that fear is a weakness I can boast about.
Step Four: Justify my fears, and hold onto my fears.
By step four I might just convince myself that being fearful is actually appropriate. I think that I can fuel my own efforts with my fears. I might say, “I’m just dwelling or focusing on the situation.” Doing so, I mislabel fear with one of the many acceptable terms (dwelling, focusing, taking something seriously, caring too much). There is in each term a desire to take things into my own hands and subtly try to rip the situation out of God’s.
However, “Faith and fear are not compatible.”* The Christian cannot have it both ways. Either she will surrender in faith to Christ and deny the fear its power, or he will let the fear be fuel to take control of his own life. You should not relish the kind of fear that causes you to doubt the goodness and reliability of Jesus.
Moreso, “Fear, if not dealt with rightly, is evidence that we are not trusting God.”* Fear is like a warning alarm ringing from your flesh to your spirit reminding you that the situation is dire. Sin is creeping at the door. Fear of the future, of loss, pain, or worse is not an admirable situation to be in. Christians should not welcome fear of anything in this life, except reverence of the Holy God (Romans 8:31-39).
“The bridge between fear and trust is faith in God.”*
If your faith is in Christ, Jesus is in the boat with you. He leads and guides, and He will never leave or forsake you.
Let’s reject any goodness we might ascribe to the fear of the things of this world. Giving in is a sinful step away from the hand of Christ. Let’s put our faith in the Savior who stepped down to save us. Join the Psalmist and say, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” (Psalm 56:3)
Father, you do all things well. Not even the smallest sparrow is outside of Your hand. Help me to trust your perfect, providential care when I am fearful. Remind me that I am never alone in surrender to you.
*Quotes from the sermon preached by Pastor Mike on April 16, 2023.