Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Why are you afraid?

My heart races every time I think about the wolves that waited on my back porch, hungry for a bite of first grader. If I let my thoughts run wild, I can still see their eyes glowing red in the darkness. Their shadowy forms still lurk around the edges of my mind. They are for me the oldest representation of fear. Their presence on our stoop paralyzed me. I willed myself forward, but my legs would not budge.
These phantoms, as menacing as they seemed to my young heart, were not real. Their razor-sharp claws and saliva-dripping jaws did not exist. I saw them, but they weren’t there. The back steps of our house were, in reality, safe and secure behind a six-foot privacy fence. The light was always on when I walked home from church after sundown. I had nothing to fear at all. There was no danger.
Jesus’ disciples faced a similar fear one night. They were in a boat on the open sea when a terrible squall came up. The storm’s vigor threatened to sink their vessel. Despite years of experience fishing on this body of water, they were terrified.
“Teacher,” they shouted, shaking Jesus awake, “don’t you care if we drown?”
The Master, yawning and stretching, spoke to the furious gale. “Quiet! Be still!” The tempest stopped obediently. The surface of the deep was as smooth as glass. Their sails hung limp.
Jesus looked sleepily at his followers and asked simply, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
The twelve were too stunned to answer. The weather meant nothing to this man. It was no threat to him. The wind was his servant, the water his slave.
“Why are you so afraid?”
The recession’s bad. My son’s disobedient. My friend’s addiction is killing him. Layoffs have been threatened. Milk costs $4.
“Quiet! Be still!”
Jesus is master over all that you fear. He cares about you. He knows your needs.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25-33)
Do you still have no faith?”
Trust God with your life. Put him first and allow him to care for your needs. In reality, you have nothing to fear. He is master of much more than the wind and waves.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
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