Why NOT to Face Your Fears…

Facing our Fear

Matthew 14:26-32 ESV 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

I love this passage because there are so many elements in such a small paragraph, so many contrasting elements like fear versus courage as well as doubt versus belief/faith. Often, I put myself into the story and wonder what I would do in such circumstances. In my mind, I can say that I wouldn’t falter but I know in my heart that my own courage would fail. So, I find great encouragement in this story knowing I wouldn’t be the only one to respond in fear. 


I can’t imagine being on this body of water, fighting a raging storm, only to look out among the waves and see a figure walking…on top of the water…. tumultuous water. The storm alone would cause me terror and to think that my life was coming to its end. Yet, this was no misfortune but an opportunity for Jesus to reveal Himself. 


I think it is safe to say that Jesus’ presence alone could be a comfort. Notice what he says in verse 27,

“Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

He hasn’t even calmed the storm and they are told not to be afraid? Why? Well, He is with them.


And, of course, Peter makes a seemingly courageous request in verse 28 to which Jesus welcomes. What faith and courage Peter must have had to ask…wait…never mind. He is screaming, “Lord, save me.” This seems to be another opportunity for Jesus as he says, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” In my head, I tend to think, “Yeah, you of little faith. Jesus was right there and you failed.” Yet, how many times does this story reveal my own faithless, fearful heart.

 

Fear is a result of doubt while courage is a result of faith. Fear it not the lack of courage but a lack of faith. I am reminded of the Hebrews passage that defines faith. 

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 ESV 

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for while fear is the uncertainty of things doubted. At the heart of my fear, I doubt Him in whom I had placed my faith. It was the same for Peter.

Fear Quote 2

 

Still, the circumstance was used for something greater: a clear revelation that Jesus is the Son of God. I find that it is the same for me. In many of my raging storms, I doubt Jesus who is sovereign, let fear take over, and cry, “Lord, save me.” Each time I look back, I can see where He has been faithful and say “Truly, You are the Son of God.”  I want to continue to mature in facing my fears and placing my trust in Him who is greater so that I may walk in bold faith in whatever storms may come. Take heart; it is Jesus. Do not be afraid.   Ryan

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