Devotions this week based on the Message: “Fear or Faith?”
Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
Let’s go back the account of Jesus and the disciples crossing the sea in Mark 4:35-41. As you read it, what do you think caused the disciples to be afraid?
Mark 4:35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
I see three things – what did you see?
First, they forgot Jesus’ words. Jesus had just spent the day teaching parables about the power of the Word to work it’s affect. Now it was time for the disciples to put that teaching into practice. This was the “practicum” of the day’s parables!
It seems like an insignificant part of the story, but JESUS said, “Let us go over to the other side.” Nowhere else in the Gospels can I recall when Jesus said something and it didn’t happen as he said it. If they were going to drown in the middle of the lake, Jesus would have said, ‘Let’s go out into the lake and drown in a storm.” He didn’t say that. He said, “Let us go over to the other side.” If he said it, it was going to happen.
God’s Word and promises are always true. But they are easy to forget when the furious squalls of life come up and lead us to think that we are going to perish. But the reason Jesus was sleeping, I believe, was because he knew they were safe and going to get to the other side. The way was rough, but the destination was certain.
Are some of your fears caused because you forget Jesus’ words of promise?
Second, they questioned God’s plan.
“Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” The assumption was that Jesus intentionally brought them out into the middle of the lake, perhaps had some way to do something about it, but assumed Jesus wanted the worst outcome for them, drowning. It’s easy in the middle of the storms of life to blame God for our circumstances. “God, you don’t care!” “God, you don’t love me anymore.” “God, you don’t…” fill in your blank.
God’s plan is always for our best, but yet we can easily blame God for our situation and question whether what we are going through is really what is best for us.
Are there some fears that you have because you question God’s plan for your life?
Third, fear doubts God’s power.
He rebuked the wind and the waves and they were quiet. WHAT? Someone has power over even the wind and the waves? In that moment the disciples saw a) the power of Jesus’ words (what he had been teaching all day) and b) the power of Jesus as the Son of God behind those words. In that moment they realized more fully they were in the presence of the all-powerful. This caused them fear.
Fear can come when we as imperfect human beings stand before the powerful, perfect God. This awe leads us to tremble. Yet, Jesus in his love and grace chooses to not condemn the disciples, but find a unique way to teach them the one who called them to follow is the one in whom you can trust, all the time.
Apply: What fears in your life are you experiencing that Jesus wants to calm with his promises? Certainty of his plan? Or confidence in his power?
Prayer: Jesus thank you for the storms of life for they lead us to repent of forgetting your promises, questioning your plan and doubting your power. Lead us in the current or next storm to do just the opposite. Amen.