Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and [Jesus] was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Mark 6:47-50a
Okay, here is a passage about fear. The disciples were alone in the dark, getting blasted by wind. Then they thought they saw a ghost and totally freaked out.
How easily we give into fear. I found myself experiencing a lot of anxiety when I went on my trip. With the fatigue, the scramble of being in different places, and carrying a backpack instead of a purse, I was so afraid I would lose something. I constantly checked to be sure I had my wallet, phone, camera and meds. I’d wake up in the morning and not see my thyroid pills and worry that I left them at the last hotel. I’d sit in the car and feel my mood plunge because I couldn’t remember packing my camera. I actually did leave my phone at my dad’s motel, but we were able to retrieve it.
Here are some places I went.
Also, on my trip, I was also afraid of not feeling well. I felt uneasy because my root canal was still achy and my toe was hurting. Would they get worse? What about other maladies I suffer from? Would they act up? I packed my backpack with every kind of cure for physical ailments — teas, pills and even my Nettie Pot!
Can you relate? What makes you fearful or anxious? What are your props to keep you feeling secure?
Of course, it’s not wrong for me to keep up with my stuff, or to make sure I’m prepared. But it is wrong to be ruled by my insecurities. Let’s keep reading:
Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened. Mark 6:50b-52
Fear comes from having a hard heart. We don’t understand about the “loaves,” the ways God has provided for us in the midst of scarcity. And so we gather our own “loaves” and clutch them tightly.
On Sunday, we visited our sister church in Albuquerque and two of the campus guys did a lesson on Matthew 6. One talked about verse 25, where Jesus told his disciples not to worry. The campus guy’s point was, “The mind wanders to what the heart wants.” In other words, our worries reveal what’s most important to us.
Yikes! That means that what’s important to me is feeling in control, having everything in place.
Instead, what should be important is focusing on God. If I could just realize that he is what I really need to keep with me, much more than my phone or my emergency kit!
So this trip I started aggressively using my shield of faith. I would picture myself wielding it, pushing forward in hope and pushing away all of my fears, worries and uneasy feelings.
But after awhile, I decided I needed a bigger shield. I needed something more like the snowplow of faith!
The snowplow of faith is the knowledge that God is a loving faithful father who is with us, even when we can’t see it.
It’s the acceptance that we may have to go through that thing we fear, but when we do, God’s grace is sufficient and he will provide at the right time.
It’s crucifying the temptation to worry, be afraid or give into dejection. (Gal 2:20, 5:24)
How easily we give into fear. The disciples in the boat freaked out because they felt vulnerable and defenseless. I feel the same way without my stuff. (Lol — first world problems. I do have bigger fears I struggle with too.)
But then I keep thinking of Joshua and Caleb. They were the only ones who made it into the Promise Land because they were the only ones whose faith was bigger than their fears. They had faith like a snowplow!
Let’s fight to have the same kind of faith to make it to the Promise Land as well.