In the Gospel story, there is a scene in which the disciples find themselves on their boat amid a raging storm. They are afraid and seemingly have forgotten Jesus’ power. This story has always been inspirational to me because I find it a telling illustration of life. How often do we find ourselves terrified in the storms of life, failing to realize that Jesus is with us the entire time?
Fear is the antithesis of faith. There are over one-hundred instances of Jesus telling people not to fear in the Gospels. Jesus is so reassuring on this topic because it is critical to our spiritual health. Fear erodes our faith, little by little. Left unchecked, it can dominate us. We lose our faith in God without even realizing it.
Fear in its rightful place can be useful. For example, the Bible tells us that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7, NIV). This example is a healthy kind of fear. The understanding of God’s ultimate authority humbles us and teaches us how we are to live. Another example would involve the current pandemic we find ourselves living in. We know this disease is deadly, and that knowledge convinces us to wear a mask in public. This kind of fear is OK.
The fear that Jesus works so hard to dispel is unfounded fears. Genuinely trusting God allows us to conquer our unfounded fears. Knowing that God has power over everything and loves us unconditionally allows us to venture into the unknown with confidence. We must trust that He will always be by our side.