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?”
Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?
The words speak to me. They jump at me. They hit me square in the heart. It started when today’s service opened up with a verse that spoke directly to my situation. The lead pastor said “This is for someone here today.” Roger, that was me…
Then, I read the outline and the message was titled “Why Are You So Afraid?” Now, folks, let me tell you… I could have sworn the Pastor was speaking right to me, the entire message. In reality, he was speaking to an entire room full of people… But, I know that God WAS speaking… right to me. “WHY are you so afraid? Do you STILL have no faith?”
The word “still” in this context seems to imply that something had changed over time. And, it had. The disciples had spent a lot of time with Jesus… they had been through too much to doubt. Hadn’t they? Haven’t I? Bah! You would think. (Big sigh…)
When Jesus asked this of the disciples, I am sure the questions echoed in their hearts, too. I am sure that they wondered the same thing, “Is my faith still really so small?”
At this point… The disciples had spent days upon days with Jesus himself. They had seen Him teach to throngs of people and perform one miracle after another. They had traveled thousands of miles with Him, trusted in Him for their care, left their jobs, and their lives to follow Him. He had befriended them, become like a brother to them. They had been walking with, talking with, and living with God Himself. And, yet, they still felt immense fear. They still let themselves worry.
I get caught up in worries, anxieties, and fears far more than I would care to admit. But, I am trying to look at God’s track record in my life, instead of looking at an unknown future. He has always been faithful, even in the very worst of things.
God Can’t Be In Your Made Up Future
I was speaking with a trusted friend and loved advisor recently and he brought up an incredible point. God can’t be in your made up future. Worry is simply letting your mind think about circumstances or events that have not happened and may never happen at all. While God promises He is here for us here and now, He never promised us He could be here for us in a future that hasn’t even happened. Does this make sense? It’s kind of a hard idea to follow the first time. Let me try again…
When we worry about tomorrow, we are worrying about a time that hasn’t happened. Jesus isn’t in it. We are worrying outside of His grace and outside of His presence. You really can’t do anything about a scenario that might not ever happen… and, neither can God… because it hasn’t happened. Do you follow? God’s grace and love are sufficient for you here, right now. For any scenarios that you imagine in your future, you aren’t imagining that scenario with God’s grace in it. You are imagining it outside of Him.
What Ever Shall We Do?
What can we do? Well, as the Bible states over and over again, we really should try not worry or fear. We should try to trust. We should not falter. I know… easier said than done. (By the way, did I ever tell you that I have to go back and read my blog posts over and over sometimes? I am ALWAYS preaching to myself on these things. So, don’t think I’ve got this all nailed down. We are all in this together.)
So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:27
Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Philippians 4:6
And those are just three of the verses in the Bible that mention worry. There are many, many more (1 Peter 5:7, Luke 12:11 & 22, Matthew 6:25 and so on).
But, what else can we do? I mean, not worrying is all well and good, any other tips? Turns out there are… along with casting out worry, we can aim to persevere, to ask for wisdom and to believe. Check out these verses from James 1.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. James 1:2-8
I mean, jeeze, James… That was a little harsh dude. But, here’s the thing. I can’t argue with God on this one for I know all of this to be true. Not just because it’s in the Bible… But because I have experienced it firsthand. When I am letting doubts creep into my mind and into my heart… I AM like a wave in the sea… A whimpering wave, a scared little wave… Tossed around by my emotions and others’ reactions. I become double-minded. I become unstable and… it really ain’t pretty. It ain’t even a hot mess.
Grace Upon Grace
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9
I almost gotta put this one into context for myself to really hear it… “My grace is sufficient for you, Alyssa. My power is perfected in your doubt, your grief, your frustration, and this journey.” Try it with your name too. Try it with some of your weaknesses. What do you think? Do you think God can work beyond your unbelief? Beyond your doubts? Beyond your fears? Beyond whatever you are struggling with?
I believe that He can. I believe that He is. I am already thanking Him for His hand in my future, because I know He will be in whatever comes my way. I don’t aim to try to figure out what that future will be anymore. Not because I don’t want to know. But, because I know that worrying doesn’t help a thing. In fact, it often makes things worse. And God cant be in my made up future.
Live in the moment. Breathe in the blessings of today. Expect God to show up in all of your unexpected future. Be brave. Be strong. Do NOT give up. And know… It’s okay. You are not alone. (Psalm 31:24)