So Afraid…


“He said to them, ‘Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?’”
                                                                                                    Mark 4:40

I have spent the past couple of days learning as much as I can about hurricanes, floods, and power outages in the Carolinas. I’ve been listening to the weather channel’s coverage of Hurricane Florence regularly as I work. As a new resident of North Carolina, and one that is depended upon to make wise decisions concerning congregational gatherings, I felt it necessary to gain as much information as I can before the storm hits. One of my favorite leadership quotes: “There is safety in a multitude of counselors” (Proverbs 11:14).

One of the things I’ve noticed, however, is the abundance of fear issuing forth from the storm coverage. I recognize that the motive for this coverage is preparedness, but it seems as if they don’t trust the viewers’ intellect, so they prey on their fears. Even when the winds lessen in strength, the reporters merely shift the focus of fear onto the rain, or storm surge, or the other three storms behind this one. Fear, fear, and more fear.

It all reminds me of Jesus in the boat with His disciples. “A great windstorm arose,” the Bible says, concerning the disciples’ crossing of the sea of Galilee. The waves were tremendous, filling and flooding the boat. When they looked for Jesus, their leader, He was asleep in the back of the boat. They freaked out! “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

I have heard this sermon preached many times, and most of the time the preacher points out the storm, His sleep, and His subsequent stilling of the sea. So when we read “O ye of little faith,” we begin to think they should have known Jesus would stand up and rebuke the storm. Great sermon, but I don’t think that it was quite about their lack of faith in His ability to calm a storm.

Jesus rebuked the storm and then rebuked His followers…because they didn’t trust Him. He answered their question: “Do you not care?” That’s the demonstration of lack of faith. And, we often run headlong after them asking God the same question. “God, don’t you care about us?”

Our demonstration of faith is not believing/knowing/commanding (?!?) God will “fix” a solution in a certain way. We demonstrate our faith by trusting Him. We believe He really cares (1 Pet 5:7) for us. We believe He is able to rescue (Eph 3:20) us. We believe that His goal for us is our good (Rom 8:28). Simply put, we trust Him.

So, as you are pummeled by those who want you to fear – in politics, the weather, rumors of war – trust the One who says “Peace! Be still!” Even the wind and the sea obey Him…
In Him,
Pastor Jim