***This post talks about fear and worry in general; it is not referring to anxiety disorders. There is freedom from those too, but it’s a longer process sometimes. God sees your heart and loves you. Please do not let this post cause you to feel guilt or discouragement over struggling with ongoing worry as described below. Take it one day at a time, one step at a time.
Faith is an essential part of the Christian life. Throughout Scripture, we see so many situations drastically turned around because someone chose to have faith in who God is and what He promised them. From healing to victories to completely transformed lives, faith was present. As much as looking at the moments when faith prevailed can help all of us learn, we have the opportunity to learn from the moments of disbelief and fear that are recorded as well. Matthew 8 gives us one example:
“When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, ‘Save us, Lord; we are perishing!’ He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?’ Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed, and said, ‘What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?’” – Matthew 8:23-27 (NASB)
Here, the disciples worried when the circumstances looked grim and it caused them to frantically run to Jesus, pleading to be saved. They thought they were dying. When Jesus woke up, though, He didn’t look at the storm and go, “Wow, yeah, this looks pretty rough.” No, He looked at the disciples and asked them why they were afraid. More specifically, He asks, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?”
As bad as the situation looked, they had no reason to be afraid.
So many times throughout Scripture, people are told, “Do not be afraid” (Jeremiah 1:8, Matthew 28:5, Matthew 28:10, Luke 1:30, Luke 12:32, John 6:20, etc.). Why so fearful?
It is one thing to be afraid if you haven’t submitted to Jesus as Lord and Savior, but to worry even after? It’s human nature, but it’s also very revealing of our hearts. If we declare we serve a mighty God who loves us dearly, why are we anxious? Doesn’t that mean we either don’t trust Him or we don’t trust that He can do what He said He will do? That’s not faith.
But what about our circumstances? They look grim sometimes. What about those mountains that just don’t seem to move? Or those fears from past experiences that keep sabotaging your hopes and dreams for the future? Are those stronger than God? Certainly not.
No matter what it is, no matter how bad it looks, it’s not stronger than God. In Matthew 8, it was a “great storm… so that the boat was being covered in waves.” Still, they had nothing to fear.
That’s kinda how life feels sometimes too. Being slapped in the face by one wave after another, not sure how much more you can take before you crumble altogether. Even then, there’s hope.
We run into trouble when we verbally confess our trust in God yet doubt in our hearts. It’s human nature, but it’s not supposed to stay our nature. James even goes so far as to write:
“But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” – James 1:6-8 (NASB)
We can learn to trust God through the storms, regardless of how circumstances appear, but we need to continue coming to Him and relying on Him in order for that trust to grow. While there’s no reason to doubt God, it often takes us time to work through past events and beliefs that have caused us to either doubt God or struggle trusting anyone in general.
That trust is worth fighting for. It’ll give you the confidence to look at struggles with peace, knowing you aren’t alone in your battle. It’ll give you the confidence to stand firm in hard choices and otherwise “scary” leaps of faith. It’ll help you help others as they grow too.
The author of Hebrews writes, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do [Other translations: to whom we must give account].” – Hebrews 4:12-13 (NASB)
Spending time in the Bible shows us the areas where we still need to let go and trust God. Not only that, it shows us the incredible accounts of God fulfilling what He said He would do. It shows time and time again God being patient with people and lovingly guiding them to freedom. He is firm and He is just, but He very patiently waits for us to grab hold of the truth of His love.
So, how do we get there? One day at a time, one step at a time. We have been given truth that eradicates fear, destroys strongholds, and brings hope to the bleakest of places. We need to share that message with the world. We will struggle to do that, however, if we lack the confidence that God truly is who He says He is. Our ministry needs to come from the outflow of the overflow of what God has done in us – Not head knowledge shared out of obligation. The world needs to see people standing steady on the truth of Scripture: people who are calm in the face of crisis and maintain sound minds in times of confusion. As we draw close to God and study the truth of Scripture, we will be able to stand calm and stay focused in the face of every storm that will come later on.
Here’s to the journey!