but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Mark 6:49-50 NIV
“This is bad, it’s real bad. I gotta go”, I hung up the phone with my son living in Birmingham. It was nearly 5:00 p.m. on April 27th, 2011 as an EF4 tornado approached the outskirts of our city, Tuscaloosa. We were watching this massive tornado bear down on our city on the news outlet when the signal was lost. Our 3 youngest teens were huddled in our laundry room. In a matter of minutes the destruction would be upon us.
My wife and I were praying every way we knew how. I went to the window facing the direction where the tornado was coming from and prayed loudly and forcefully in the spirit. The sky grew black as the wind swirled trees. I joined the family in the laundry room and waited for the noise, rain and trauma to pass.
Someone has said that FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real and sometimes this is true. Other times the fear exists from a real threat or event. The disciples were afraid of a real man, Jesus, walking on the water in the middle of the night. The Bible records that these grown men were crying out in terror. We were facing a very destructive real tornado.
Fear grabs our brain and emotions before entering the rational side of our brain which dialogues to make sense of what is happening. Our bodies tense at the sound of a rattlesnake before we know how close the threat really is for us. The point is that we all have triggers that can cause us to fear and rationalizing them does not necessarily make the fear go away.
Satan uses fear in traumatic events to gain access to harass us. To counter his attack, Jesus said two important things regarding the disciple’s fear.
- Take Courage – greek Tharseite. The root part of this word captures the idea of warming up something from the inside. It means to be emboldened, starting from within and working its way out. This is more than asking your nerves to be a peace, although the warmth may start with being at peace. God will give a inner strength to change how you are responding to the situation, which alters your outward disposition. God does the warming. Trying to have good thoughts doesn’t address the inward fear.
- It is I – The presence of Jesus will change the fear of the moment. You may still be in the middle of the storm, but His presence changes how you are responding to the event. The Lord of Host is on the scene.
Tips for when you are facing a fearful moment.
- Pray – Invite Jesus to help you navigate the fearful moment. Pray in the spirit and with understanding.
- Ask God to shut any open doors that Satan may use to harass you with ongong fear. Pam and I pray this prayer often for people who have experienced a traumatic event like a car wreck.
- Memorize some bible verses to strengthen your faith. Joshua 1:9, Isaiah 41:10, Acts 1:8, 2 Timothy 1:7
- Listen to the speed of your breathing and begin to take deeper and slower breaths. This will help calm your nerves as well as help you to begin to think more clearly.
- Expose fear to the light. Part of the strength of fear is its hiddenness. Fear loves darkness both physically and figuratively. Expose the thought to light so that it can be evaluated. Share it with a friend. Ask Jesus to help you break free from the chains of fear that have kept you from moving on.
As a child of God, Jesus has promised to never leave you nor forsake you. He is already in your boat in the storm that you are facing. Worship Jesus instead of your fear.
On this Fear Not Friday – Take Courage. Be warmed by the presence of the Holy Spirit letting him calm your heart and mind. Talk with Jesus all day long and don’t forget to listen to what He has to say back to you. You’ll be glad you did.
Blessings Love y’all