“But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid.” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” Matthew 14:27 NLT
Adversities and failures in life are but roadblocks to a life that goes Nowhere. In such times, we are to pray for guidance to embark on the road to a life of righteousness that is Now Here. It is the way of the Cross which is filled with doubts and fears. As human beings, we are the only creatures who have doubts as we have higher levels of consciousness. We are able to reflect on the past and to contemplate the future. When we live our lives under the control of our mammalian and reptilian brains, we are driven by our desires and instincts. But as human beings we are created for higher things. We can choose to let our fears be stumbling stones driving us to doubt or we can use our fears to be stepping stones to lead us to a faith in the wonders of God.
The disciples were in a storm when they saw Jesus walking on water towards them. They were terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost. Jesus spoke to them: “Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I am here!” Peter then asked to walk to Jesus to prove that it was really Jesus walking in the storm. However, as Peter began walking on the water towards Jesus, he saw the strong wind and waves. He was terrified and began to sink and cried out to Jesus, “Save me, Lord!”:
“Jesus Immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”
The wind stopped when they climbed back into the boat and the disciples were filled with awe and wonder as they worshiped him and declared, “You really are the Son of God.”1
Peter’s failure to walk on water towards Jesus was a reflection of his fearfulness which led him to lose faith in Jesus’ call, “Yes, come.” Instead of keeping his eyes on Jesus, Peter shifted his attention to the wind and the waves and fear melted his courage. Doubt is the expression of our fears and our desire to be in control. Peter’s courage sank when his fears drove him to doubt.
Trust is the expression of our faith and a surrendered will to God. Peter could have just waited for Jesus to get into the boat instead of trying to walk on water. So often we are tempted to do great things for God with a shallow faith. But by grace God turns our times of doubt into opportunities to experience His wonders.
In the storms of life, we can try to walk in the storm or to wait out the storm. The failure of Peter to walk in the storm teaches us the important lesson that we need great faith to walk in the storm or we will be sunk by our doubts. The good news is that when we are drowning in half truths and lies we can cry out:
“I am drowning in tears. Strengthen me as you promised. Turn me away from a life of lies. Graciously provide me with your teachings. I have chosen a life of faithfulness.”2
The good news of the gospel is that the Lord is present with us. We need only a mustard seed faith to be still and to stand on the promise that God is our refuge and our strength:
“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge……
Be still and know that I am God. I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.”3
Courage is not the absence of fear – it is confidence in God’s presence in the face of fear. The disciples were told to have courage for Jesus was with them. The practice of the presence of God in our daily lives is therefore of utmost importance. To do so, I need to read the bible with a surrendered heart and invite the Holy Spirit to lead me into Christ’s presence through the Word of God. I can read the bible to know about God with my thinking mind but my faith will remain shallow. Feeding on God’s Word is not filling my mind with bible verses – it is reflecting on God’s Word to examine my heart and to rewire my mind:
“God’s word is living and active. It is sharper than any two-edged sword and cuts as deep as the place where the soul and spirit meet, the place where joints and marrow meet. God’s word judges a person’s thoughts and intentions.”4
I need to be rooted in the Word of God to bear the fruit of joy and peace in every season of life. The secret of living the abundant life in Christ is to delight in the Word of God and to remember that my Shepherd of Love is holding me fast:
“I could never keep my hold
Through life’s fearful path
For my love is often cold
He must hold me fast
He will hold me fast
He will hold me fast
For my Savior loves me so
He will hold me fast”5
Lord, in these dark, doubtful and difficult times, be my refuge and my strength. Keep me from drowning in my doubts. Hold me fast in the storms of life that I may experience the wonder of Your presence.
- What are the fears that lead me to doubt God’s love for me?
- How can I turn my doubts into opportunities to experience God’s miracles?
- How can God’s Word help me to experience His presence in my daily life?
Song of Praise:
He will hold me fast
- Matthew 14:22-33
- Psalms 119:28-29. GW
- Psalms 46:1-3, 10-11 NLT
- Hebrews 4:12 GW
- He Will Hold Me Fast