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What If I Am Afraid?

Mark 4:35-40

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

One thing is for sure: many of the disciples were experienced sailors who did not easily panic in a storm! Therefore, the reader can surmise that they must have reached the end of all their long-practiced efforts by the time the boat was filling with water and they finally woke Jesus. After immediately calming the storm, Jesus asks them why they are afraid; then He pinpoints the cause of their fear as a lack of faith. I used to wonder exactly HOW Jesus questioned them. What was His tone of voice? Was He angry? Exasperated?

And if so, is He likewise frustrated with me when I am afraid?

Years ago, the Lord gave me an illustration that brought some comfort and understanding. My daughter and I were shopping for ballet shoes at the time. She needed pointe shoes, and so we headed downtown to the specialty store for the ordeal of being fitted—a very long and complicated process that involves trying on literally dozens of shoes that vary in minute detail, until they finally find the shoe that fits the dancer’s foot perfectly. In the end, two trips to this store and two visits to the dance studio were required before we were at last the owners of the perfect pair of (very expensive!) shoes. After Erin arrived home from the dance class where she received the final shoe approval from her instructor, I took the shoes out of her dance bag and put them in my bedroom, where I would see them and remember to sew on the ribbons before her next class.

The day before that class, Erin came to me in the kitchen while I was cooking dinner, tears streaming down her face. Her words began tumbling out, “Mom, I’ve lost my new ballet shoes…I’m so sorry…I’ve looked everywhere, cleaned my whole room, called my friends to see if they’d seen them, checked with my dance teacher to see if I’d left them at the studio…Mom, I know how expensive they were and I’m so sorry. I didn’t want to tell you, but now I have to because class is tomorrow, and WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?”

I was able to fold her into my arms and instantly remove the cause of her fear by telling her that I HAD her shoes and had had them all along! I was deeply distressed that she was so upset and had been filled with anxiety for days, trying to solve this problem on her own; that she didn’t come to me right away with her fears, which I could have immediately dispelled.

In that moment the Lord spoke to my heart: “THAT is how I felt when I rebuked the disciples! I wasn’t angry. My heart was grieved that they didn’t trust Me enough to come to Me FIRST, to know that I could and would help them.”

Let’s not try to hide our fears or anxieties during this troubling time, thinking that God may be angry with us for feeling these very human emotions. Never let pride or fear keep you from running to Him. He is just waiting to comfort you!

And never forget: He is the Master of every storm.

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