One of the main things that the Bible often tells us is: “Do not fear,” “Do not be afraid,” “Fear not!” We worry about the small things and we worry about the big things; we worry all the time! After 9-11-01 the Office of Homeland Security even has the National Terror Alert System of Level Green, Level Yellow, Level Orange, and Level Red just so we can know just how scared we are!
In the summer of 2004 we are afraid of mosquitoes and catching West Nile Virus. We are also afraid of catching the flu because of the shortage of flu-shots this fall. We are afraid of things that are so small we can’t even see them: Ebola, small pox, anthrax, and of catching Aids, and the coming of the Bird Flu.
We are afraid of large things so far away we can’t even see them! We’re afraid of comets, asteroids, and meteorites hitting the earth making humankind extinct like the dinosaurs!
Lightening, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes (after Huuricane Katrina 2005 category 5), volcanoes (Mt. St. Helen 1980), earthquakes (the 2010 earthquake in Haiti), mudslides, and now we have a new terrifying fear; the Tsunami in 2004. In late 2008 to early 2009 we fear that we are in a Recession/Depression.
In 2009 we now have a new/old fear; Pirates (Yes, Pirates!)and also in 2009 the Pandemic Swine Flu (World Health Organization Level 4; now level 5 4/30/09).
In September 2014 we have the Fear of the Ebola Virus a deadly kind of hemorrhagic fever that has showed up for the first time in the United States. Today in 2014 we have fears of Ebola here in Dallas, Texas. We felt safe as long as the Ebola Virus was far away in Africa; but now that it is here in America... Now we are concerned.
We also have fears from the Enterovirus that is mysteriously killing children across the country.
We also have fears from ISIL/ISIS a extreme radical Muslim Minority Terrorist that has beheaded American hostages and has murdered thousands of innocent civilians including men, women, and children. (These Terrorist do NOT represent most Muslims. Their version of Muslim is a perversion of a gentle and kind faith.)
In 2015 we still have Ebola fears and new fears of (SARS) Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. We also have fears from Blue Bell Ice Cream contaminated with listeria. And in 2015 have have renewed fears from West Nile Virus that is contracted from mosquitoes and new outbreaks of Legionnaires Disease.
In 2016 we have fears of the Zika Virus spreading that causes birth defects in pregnant women.
We are afraid of Recession/Depression, losing our jobs, losing our home, and life savings. We fear that gas prices and interest rates will go up and that stocks will go down. We fear for loved ones serving in the military.
We are afraid of Alzheimer, cancer, car accidents, plane accidents, loneliness, and fear of dying. We are afraid of terrorist attacks, dirty bombs, nuclear war, nuclear winter, global warming, killer bees, and Mad Cow Disease. We are afraid of the bogeyman under the bed or hidden in the closet. Do we really think that our government can protect us from everything?
I do not put my faith in politicians and governments. I put my hope and my trust in the Lord. I do not put my trust in the hands of man. I put my trust in the hands of God.
Jesus Calms the Storm
35That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side." 36Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?"
39He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
40He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"
41They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!" Mark 4:35-41 NIV
4:35 On that day Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. Mark 4:1-2 He taught them many things in parables: Parable of the Sower, A Lamp on a Stand, Parable of the Growing Seed, Parable of the Mustard Seed – Mark 4:3-34
4:35 “Let us go across to the other side.” They went (to the East) across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. – Mark 5:1 Though the disciples obediently followed Jesus, this is no guarantee of smooth sailing; there will always be storms in our lives.
4:36 And leaving the crowd behind
4:37 A great windstorm arose Situated in a basin surrounded by mountains, the Sea of Galilee is particularly susceptible to sudden, violent storms. Cool air from the Mediterranean is drawn down through the narrow mountain passes and clashes (collides) with the hot, humid air lying over the lake. NIV Note 4:37
and the waves beat into the boat, 7’ waves have been reported. Most people including fishermen of this time were afraid of the water and did not know how to swim.
Four of the disciples were experienced fishermen: Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee and his brother John. – The Calling of the first Disciples Matthew 4:18-22
But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; Jesus was weary and exhausted from his teaching to the crowds earlier and was getting a well-deserved sleep.
"Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" The disciples were scared to death; they were panicked and afraid of imminent death. Jesus was not bothered by the storm! What does all of this mean? Was Jesus oblivious to their danger and suffering?
Was Jesus indifferent? Did Jesus care? Does God ever seem distant? Had the disciples thought that since they were Jesus’ disciples with Jesus they were impervious to bad things happening?
God brings both the sunshine and the rain. Had the disciples forgotten that it rains on the righteous as well as the wicked? Did the disciples have a false sense of security, a false sense of their importance, and a false sense of their righteousness?
How often are we right in the boat with Jesus (we go to church, pray, etc.), and Jesus is in our presence but we don’t see him, and have fear? Can Jesus be right in our midst, even in the center of our lives (or the center of the boat) but we don’t see him? Why can’t we see that we are safely in God’s hands?
4:39 He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. God is never in a panic! Jesus teaches us that he is the God creator who is in absolute control over everything.
Should the disciples have waited until the storm got life threatening to call on Jesus or should have the disciples called on Jesus earlier? Did the disciples wait until it was almost too late to call on Jesus? Do we do the same?
4:40 He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?"Why are we afraid? Where is our faith? Did the disciples understand that Jesus, God was in control? We like to think that we are always in “control.” Why is it hard for us do give up our perceived control up to God? Are we rebellious and arrogant? Fear is the opposite of Faith. We always have a choice: Fear or Faith; which do you choose?
4:41 And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?" Do we recognize that God is really in control? Are we filled with “awe” or with “complacency”?
Who then is this…? The Son of God! The disciples had seen Jesus as a teacher, a healer, and as a miracle worker, but now they recognized Jesus as the very Son of God. Jesus Christ calms the storms; Jesus brings calm to the chaos. Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace. Jesus used the storm to teach his disciples to recognize and to know who he was. Jesus uses the unpredictable storms in our lives to plant seeds of faith so that we do not have to be afraid!
We often cry out in despair at the last moment when we reach the end of our rope. (See: The Mountain climber) In our despair we struggle with our limitations and weaknesses. But whenever we pray, Jesus is always willing to help us, to meet us, whenever and wherever we are!
"Don't be afraid because I have saved you.
I have called you by name and you are mine."
Isaiah 43:1 NIV
...because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea,
blown and tossed by the wind.
James 1:6 NIV
Shelter from the Storm