Mark 6:47-52. Over the last few weeks I've spent a considerable amount of time on the subject of fear. I think it's easy to to be overcome by fear as I know plenty of stable, rational people who have expressed their concerns regarding ISIS, income, family, etc.... I'm no stranger to fear as a sailor, dad, husband, and so forth and I, like many of my Christian counterparts tend to migrate to the words from the prophet Isaiah (chapter 41) "fear not for I am with you..." but a statement or directive to not do something seems to become passé once we've heard it so often. A couple of things occurred last week that caused me to look more deeply into the issue of fear and what we can do to combat.
First, the situation:
A friend of mine called me wanting some sailing lessons for a 14 foot Barnett as well as assist him with rigging the vessel. I gladly accepted and jumped into the project with little regard to my friend's knowledge of boating, sailing, safety, my skills and so forth. So within a few minutes, I had the mast up, the outhaul, downhaul and running rigging all in place along with the other items needed. We hooked the trailer to his truck and drove less and 2/10ths of a mile to the launch. We got the boat in the water and I noticed some water in the cockpit, identified the source, bailed the water and tied off to the dock so we could prepare to hoist the main. During all of this, my friend was asking multiple questions regarding the rigging, the water in the cockpit, the possibility of a storm, how would we get to shore once we picked up the mooring and other questions which should have clued me into the fact that he wasn't knowledgeable and/or tenured on the water and therefore was somewhat apprehensive. As I began to realize what seemed to be happening, I then started to be more explicit with my explanations of what we were doing, how we would execute a gybe or tack and what the expected result should be. I spoke more about the good qualities of his purchase and how much fun this would be for him and his children. We made it to the ball, waded ashore (5ft depth) and then checked the boat the next morning and found all was well.
Now the lesson and Christ's example:
If you take the time to read the passage of scripture I listed to begin this entry (Mark 6:47-52), you'll notice a couple of similarities: boating and fear. Although these are central to the theme of this message, one thing really stood out to me which served as a massive reminder of how we can overcome fear. In verse 49 when the disciples saw Him, they "cried out", not because the knew it was Christ but because they thought He was a ghost and they were fearful. When they cried out, in verse 50, Christ acknowledged them and we know what happened thereafter. What's really interesting about this scripture is that in verse 48, the Bible says Christ saw them struggling and was coming toward them with the intention of passing them but when they saw him, they cried out and then he assisted. Does this mean Christ sees us in our turmoil? Yes. Does this mean He's waiting for us to cry out? Probably. Did Christ want them to feel the shock of seeing a ghost and then calm them? Maybe. Why would I answer these questions with a little ambiguity? Well, the last verse of this passage clues me to the intent. V52: "for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their hearts were hardened." The disciples had just witnessed a massive feeding of thousands from very little food and in verse 51 of this passage they were utterly astonished at the power of Christ. The lesson I've derived from this and multiple other passages in the Bible is we are not very adept at learning and practicing the truths in His word. Even when we say "I'll believe it when I see it" we really don't. The disciples are proof of this. However, I realize some who read this blog don't "buy" what Christianity is selling so I'm okay with saying I'm also in the camp of the disciples.....I've seen myself cry out in fear and experienced G-d's gracious supply to my need. I've been the person struggling in the middle of life's sea and when Christ's provision came, I didn't recognize it/him. I will admit, I'm a slow learner and need to record the times when I needed money for a bill or assistance to complete a task or wisdom on how to proceed with a situation and somehow the blessing came without me knowing how it was gonna get done.
For those who are Christ followers, here are some (not comprehensive) basic points we must grasp and practice. 1. Prayer is a conversation, not a petition of wants. We need to listen as much or more than we speak. 2. Scripture is critical to understanding who He is. 3. Nothing, and I mean Nothing, should ever leave our mouth, hands, heart without bathing it in prayer and sometimes fasting. 4. If He sends you out into the middle of the sea and you encounter turmoil, don't forget His past faithfulness. You may have to dig for it but I've definitely experienced it and can vouch for such. 5. Trust Him....You can! 6. Don't forget to cry out and don't ever be ashamed to do so.
Periodic updates from our family.