Someday, you’re going to feel afraid. (Especially if you live in Louisiana. From what I can tell on the television, that state is covered with alligators you have to wrestle and bearded swamp drifters you have to plan reality shows with. Terrifying.)
You’ll fear something. You’ll doubt God. You’ll worry that maybe he doesn’t have this whole thing in his hands.
And when you’re afraid, doubt and maybe even guilt will try to piggyback on fear and ride into your heart too.
“If I was just a better Christian, I would trust God more! I’m such a failure of a Christian! Why do I still doubt?”
And when those feelings stumble in, like the drunk, little jerks they can be, I want you to remember the disciples.
Because fortunately, those guys were a mess.
Don’t believe me?
Here are a few things that the first disciples witnessed Jesus do in the first four chapters of Mark:
Jesus drove out an evil spirit. (Mark 1:25)
Jesus healed “many” people from all over town. (Mark 1:24-25)
Jesus healed a man with leprosy. (Mark 1:42)
Jesus healed a paralytic. (Mark 2:10-11)
Jesus heals a guy with a shriveled hand. (Mark 3:5)
Over and over again, these first disciples witness Jesus doing some absolutely wild things. Having witnessed these things first hand, it only makes sense that in Mark 4, when a storm threatens their boat, they immediately proclaim “No problem! We’ve got Jesus with us! Any boat he is on is like a Carnival Cruise!”
Actually, they freak out. They wake Jesus up and instead of just saying, “Help, we’re going to drown!” they go with the far whinier, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” They manage to actually sound selfish in their cry for help, which is a difficult thing to do.
Think about if your house were on fire. From a second story window, what would you shout to the firemen below? You’d shout, “Help! There’s a fire!” Not, “Don’t you care if I catch on fire?” (A fireman who heard that would probably punch you in the face as he rescued you.)
After being woken by the disciples, Jesus calms the storm. He questions the disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
Their reaction is to huddle in terror, look at each other and say, “Who is this?”
They’d witnessed countless miracles.
They’d seen things we can barely begin to fathom.
They’d experienced first hand the majesty of Jesus.
And they doubted.
They feared when the storms of life battered them about.
It’s possible they will batter you one day too.
And in that moment, don’t let shame ride the storm in. Don’t think you’re a failure for being afraid. Don’t think “real Christians” don’t have to cry out in storms.
They do. Even the disciples, who spent every night and day watching miracles, were afraid of the waves sometimes.
We all are. And the good news is we have a God and a grace that is big enough to handle that fear. He’s big enough to calm the storms. And he’s big enough to love us even when we lose sight of how big he really is.