‘Why are you so fearful?’ Mark 4:40 NKJV
Don’t Be Afraid (1)
Notice how the disciples reacted to the storm on the Sea of Galilee, and see if you recognize any of the same traits in yourself: 1) Fear makes us doubt God’s care. The disciples asked Jesus, ‘Do You not care that we are perishing?’ (v. 38 NKJV). They didn’t ask about His strength: ‘Can you still the storm?’ Or His knowledge: ‘Are you aware of the storm?’ Or His know-how: ‘Do you have any experience with storms?’ Instead they voiced doubts about His character: ‘Do you not care?’ If you let it, fear will erode your confidence in God’s love and make you forget His faithfulness. 2) Fear makes us reach for control. Jesus was asleep, so the disciples woke Him and said, ‘Do something, quick!’ Fear comes from a perceived loss of control. When we’re afraid, we grab for a component of life that we can manage – like our diet, or our job, or the neatness of our house, or in many cases – people. The more insecure we feel, the more controlling we tend to become. 3) Fear makes us forgetful. The Bible says, ‘He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick’ (Matthew 8:16 NKJV). What a résumé! But fear gives us spiritual amnesia; it makes us forget what Jesus has already done and how good He has been to us. And what was Jesus’ response? ‘Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?’ Faith doesn’t eliminate fear; it silences it, robs it of its power, and draws us closer to God. And when that happens things begin to change for the better.
WEDNESDAY 17 AUGUST
‘Oh, that [we] would give thanks to the Lord for his goodness.’ Psalm 107:8 NKJV
Don’t Be Afraid (2)
When you’ve been through hard times, it can make you want to cut back on trusting God, and start playing it safe. When you’ve been through back-to-back storms, the security of the harbour starts looking good. Now it’s okay to rest and regroup, but don’t settle for safety and miss what God has planned for you. The Bible says: ‘Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters…see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep. For He commands and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea. They mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the depths; their soul melts because of trouble. They reel to and fro…stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end. Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, so that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; so He guides them to their desired haven. Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness’ (vv. 23-31 NKJV). Where do we see God’s wonders? In life’s storms! Jesus issued 125 recorded commandments. Twenty-one of them are ‘Don’t be afraid’ or ‘Have courage.’ The second most common commandment, to love God and your neighbour, appears on only eight occasions. That means the one statement Jesus made more than any other was ‘Don’t be afraid!’ Why? Because He wants you to trust Him more!