When Fear Threatens to Sink You
Sitting in a boat, a bunch of fishermen are having trouble getting to the other side of the lake because of the wind and waves. It’s late. They’re frustrated.
Looking up, a ghost is coming across the water to them. Fear crashes over frustration.
The ghost speaks. A voice they know. Jesus. “Don’t be afraid.”
The brash one, Peter, says, “Ok. If it is you, let me walk on water too.”
“Come,” Jesus says.
Peter gets out of the boat boldly and begins to walk. But that wind that had buffeted the boat, it was strong against him as he walked. He feared. He sank. The man who spent his life on the water began to drown and cried out, “Lord, save me.”
Immediately, a strong hand clutched his own and pulled him back up. The kind eyes buffeted by their own wind as he asked, “Why did you doubt?”
They climbed into the boat and everyone worshiped for truly this is the Son of God.
My fears. They range from big to small, rational to irrational, possible to improbable. I feel like they make sense though. Some things are deserving of fear.
The truth? My fears, they reside in doubt. I used to think this was unique.
Other people didn’t have doubts that led to fears. Sure, they may have fears, but they weren’t based in doubt. My faith was weak.
Matthew 14:22-33 though hits the root of fear for us all: doubt. When we fear, we believe some lie more than the truth of God. We may not be aware of that lie, that doubt, but if we follow our thoughts to the deep, we will find doubt in our fear.
Why else would we be afraid when the God of the Universe is our Father?
I most often doubt God’s goodness. Digging deeper, I see that my definition of goodness is about as sophisticated as a two-year-old’s. Goodness is when I get what I want when I want it.
I may not be throwing a tantrum on the floor because Dad told me I couldn’t have ice cream right now, but I would definitely be throwing one if Dad said someone I loved must suffer. It doesn’t matter that there’s sin in this world that just has to play itself out. That God didn’t pick for this sin to come into the world. That He did find a way to redeem us that cost us the most to Him. It only matters that I didn’t get what I wanted.
I sink. I hear, “Why did you doubt?” I berate myself.
What I forget is that there is that strong arm holding me up so I don’t drown.
“Peter, Satan has asked to sift you.”
Peter, I have prayed for you. Remember how you walked on water. Remember how when you doubted, I pulled you up. Stay strong in the faith. Push through the doubts to truth.
Satan doesn’t even have to ask to sift me. I’m easily bent and swayed.
Jesus prayed for me too though, and for you (John 17). Remember how we have walked on water. Remember how when we doubted, he pulled us up. Stay strong in the faith. Push through the doubts to truth.