During a time of epidemic and crisis, many Americans are responding out of fear. Their response reminds us of a time Jesus’ very own disciples reacted out of fear instead of faith.
In Mark 4, Jesus has been teaching all day on the edge of the sea of Galilee. Afterwards, however, Jesus was exhausted. On this day, the only means to escape the crowd to a quiet place was a little fishing boat where Jesus with His disciples launched out to the other side of the sea of Galilee. During the night, an unexpected storm brewed. The winds blew and waves began to crash in over the sides of the boat. Some of the disciples were seasoned fishermen, yet the storm caused them to become disoriented. They lost their bearings and began to let fear fill their hearts. Jesus was so exhausted He had slept through the storm. They woke Jesus, saying something out of character for followers of Christ. Instead of asking Jesus to perform a miracle, they said, “don’t you care if we perish?”
Fear causes us to doubt if God loves us or cares for us. Fear causes us to blame others. And, sometimes, fear can cause panic, which causes us to jump ship to a sure and sudden death.
Now awake, Jesus calmed the sea and asked His disciples, Why are you fearful? Why is it you have no faith?
Fear can turn into panic, while faith drives us to freedom. Sometimes all we have is Jesus to hold on to, but we find He is always enough. The only safe place during your storm is in the boat with Jesus. Faith comes through a close relationship with Christ, through filling ourselves with faith-filled scriptures from God’s Word, and from listening to faith-filled sermons and worship music.
We want to know Jesus well enough to know that He always loves us and that He cares for us. Keeping our eyes on Him, trusting in Him, brings that faith. This kind of faith is unshakable. It carries us through every crisis and every storm.
God’s Word is sure. His promises are always true and His own promise is that He will never leave or forsake us.
The Rev. Sheldon Livesay is executive director of Of One Accord Ministry.