Courage is not the absence of fear. “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway” [John Wayne]. In last week’s post “The antidote for fear”, I suggested that the antidote for fear is a “state of being” founded on four pillars:
1. A growing understanding and experience of the unconditional love of God the Father.
2. Embracing the reality that his presence is ever with us and his faithfulness is our shield and sure defense.
3. Embracing the reality that nothing can separate us from his love.
4. We have not been given a spirit of fear.
I wanted to do some further musing on Pillar #2 [see above]. It’s easy to embrace the theory of his presence being ever with us but what happens when trouble is in our way; when we are in the midst of the storm? The account of a storm at sea recorded in Luke 8: 22-25 provides some useful insights. The account begins with an invitation: “Let us go over to the other side of the lake”, Jesus invites his disciples. They got into the boat and began to cross the Sea of Galilee. As they are sailing he falls asleep and a major squall comes down on the lake. For the disciples, this lake was there realm. They had lived with it and on it. They knew how to handle themselves in tense situations. This was different. They had never seen the waters rage in this way before. They knew they were in grave danger – drowning was a distinct possibility.
In real fear and panic they roughly wake the sleeping Jesus – “get up we are going to die”. I imagine Jesus saying: “I have an appointment on the other side, dying now is not an option”. Conscious of his “state of being”, he releases peace. “Peace be still” He speaks to the winds and the waves, he speaks to the heart of his disciples. There is a great calm in the natural. There is a great calm in the hearts of once-fearful men. In fear and amazement they respond: “what kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him! This time fear is awe at what they had just seen and experienced.
Reflecting on the story of the storm here are some thoughts and questions for us to ponder:
1. As we face our storms are we clear in our mission? Clarity of vision and mission will help us to persevere through fear-producing times of uncertainty and adversity.
2. Who is in the boat with us? Whatever our realm [our sphere of influence], whatever our situation, the one who can “speak peace to the raging waters” has power and authority over them and he has given us this power and authority as he walks with us.
3. Just as courage is not the absence of fear, so faith is not the absence of doubt but rather moving forward in spite of it.
I am reminded of an old song from one of my favorite singers Andrae Crouch. I have included it here. Hope you enjoy it.
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