Have you ever felt fear?
That cold, chilling, paralyzing sensation that creeps up your spine and overtakes your mind? Have you ever sat alone in the dark, wondering if tomorrow will come, or better yet, if you’d even see it? Have you ever found yourself quivering in the face of a challenge? If so, you and Jesus have a lot in common! Imagine Christ, the Son of God(!), thrust into uncertainty, with friends and foes coming together to betray and imprison Him, and eventually, take away His very life. Can you imagine what that must have felt like? If you’ve ever faced a challenge, regardless of what form it took, then you must know what it feels like to be too afraid to carry on. The question, however, then becomes, when the tide of fear rises, what can we really do?
Drawing from a popular Biblical example, let’s look back at Peter — the bold, the unflinching, walking on water in response to a call by his Saviour. When a lot of people reference this story, the main focus is usually Jesus walking on water, but that’s really nothing surprising. That’s not remarkable, because He was Jesus! The Son of God! He worked miracles and raised the dead in His spare time, of course He can walk on water. Peter on the flip side however, is a different story entirely. Peter walking on water was, IS, nothing short of borderline insanity, and that’s the miracle of it! But Peter, being a man, started to notice the insanity — the madness of planting his feet upon Dark Waters. The waves caught his attention. The wind swayed his balance. The thunder awoke his fear, and the tide inevitably, toppled him.
At the centre of every miracle is a little madness, and at the centre of every challenge, is an opportunity to choose that madness, or to cower in fear of the unknown. For every step that Peter took on the water, he was choosing the madness. He was making a conscious decision to trust God, or in this case, Jesus. Peter’s radical exercise in faith, even in the face of the impossible, is a lesson to us all. A lesson that as a Christian, challenges will arise, but they don’t signal the end. On the contrary, they’re an opportunity to grow, and a lesson in the exercise of faith. They can shape us as people, make us more mature Christians, nudge us back onto God’s plan, and leave us permanently changed for the rest of our lives.
This piece of Scripture pretty much sums it up;
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colours. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”
James 1:2-4 MSG
Let’s get back to Jesus for a second. We see in Matt 26:39-44 that while Jesus was contemplating His crucifixion, He asks God to take the Cross away. Isn’t that interesting? Even with the knowledge that He will rise again in 3 days, the fear of the Cross still prompted the Son of God to ask His Father not once, not twice, but thrice to take the looming challenge away. However, the fact that Jesus felt fear is not the most important thing… He was a Man, after all, and therefore, flesh and blood. What’s more remarkable is the fact that He still submitted to God’s Will in the face of that fear, because He understood that God’s Will is perfect. Jesus trusted God so much that He was willing to let Himself die, in the confidence, that God will not abandon Him.
With that in mind, what are you going through? This Easter, I need you to remember that worrying and focusing on the “problem”, whatever it may be, is not the answer – all that’d cause is sadness, stress, anxiety, and more fear! Similarly, seeking human help is also not the answer. Trying to do it on your own? Nope. The answer is Jesus. Focus on Him – rest in the finished work He’s done for you. He went through all the pain and hurt for me and you, so we don’t have to go through any of it again.
So receive His peace, and let go of your fear. Trust God enough to know that He will not let the challenge overcome you. Trust that He will never abandon you in Hell — whatever that may represent in your life. Trust His timing. Jesus didn’t die and resurrect on the same day… He spent 3 days in Hell, because that’s how long He needed to be there in order to secure His eternal place on God’s right hand, and by extension, our Salvation. Jesus didn’t appear to Peter and immediately quiet the storm, rather, He first told him to walk on it. God may not always work things out the way we want, or on our schedule, but He will work them out for our good, and at His time, which FYI, is the Perfect Time!
Remember this. God knows the end from the beginning. He says, “Fear not” 365 times in the Bible — one for every day of the year. So, the storms and dark waters may come and try to unravel you, but don’t be afraid because you know that God has gone before you, is working for you… and that all things work together for YOUR good, even on Dark Waters.