Fear is one of those factors that militate against our faith. Fear and faith are the two most powerful but unseen forces that rule human beings.
When you live in fear, it will occupy your mind and affect all you do, and when you live in faith, it will also occupy your mind and affect all you do.
It is the reason God always asks us to live in faith. Do not live in fear. When we take a little stroll through the scriptures from the Old Testament to the New, we will never find anywhere God says “be afraid”. So, do not live in fear.
The command “Do not be afraid”, or “fear not” is over 365 times in the bible. The point is that whenever we choose to live in fear, we choose to sink into our problems.
When we live in fear, we choose to fail. To live in fear is already a decision to remain stagnant. It is a decision to live as victims and submit to the object of our fears, and we begin to sink just as Peter does today.
“Fear not” is also a command to all who are followers of Christ. Few points from the gospel of today are:
Jesus Walking On the Water.
The apostles encounter Jesus walking on the water and they deeply terrify. The gospel says that they even cry out in fear. They think that Jesus is a ghost. Who knows how this shouting would be. They never knew it was the Messiah coming to them. They begin to shout.
Here, the apostles do not know that Jesus is the one walking on the water, and they begin to shout.
Hence, there are times we encounter situations or when we hear about something and immediately we sink into fear without knowing the truth about it.
Do you know that many things we think are fearful in themselves may not be truly what they are until we try?
The apostles think it is a ghost when in the actual sense, it is not. Sometimes we are living in fear out of nothing.
Sometimes, how we conclude that something is, may not be actually what it is, until we come face to face with reality. So do not live in fear.
Behind What We Fear.
Many things we fear to encounter may be packaged with blessings. Let us remember that it is the Messiah, the Saviour coming to the apostles but not in a way they expected.
Sometimes, blessings keep coming to us packaged in ways we do not truly understand. Sometimes, they are packaged in difficulties waiting for us to try, but we remain stuck in fear.
When the pandemic came, many people became afraid, and many businesses crumbled. Also, many people took advantage of the lockdown. They use the lockdown to create their jobs and learn personal skills.
While some were waiting for the lockdown to be over, others use it as an avenue to get into online businesses.
Surprisingly, many people are still waiting when things will be normal while some have used it to create things they never imagined they would do if not for the lockdown.
Many people have gone into farming not just to feed but for commercial purposes, while some are still sleeping waiting for it to be over.
Sometimes behind what we fear is a great opportunity that lies ahead of us.
Before Joseph Campbell became an orator and public speaker, He dreads speaking in public, until someone pushes him to give himself a trial.
One day after recollecting how successful He became, He concluded that “some times the cave you fear to enter lies that treasure that you seek”.
Therefore, Just as Jesus is coming to the disciples, sometimes blessings come to us, but we are full of fear to go out and embrace it.
Until we conquer fear and act, we will never know the blessings lying in wait for us. So, do not live in fear. Fear may be the thing you need to conquer to get to where God wants you to be.
Our Reasons to Fear.
The apostles sincerely have reasons to fear.
1.First what happened today was in the fourth watch of the night, from 3 am to 6 am. It was a lonely time.
2.Secondly, the boat was already battling with heavy wind
3. In all these, Jesus comes walking on the water, which is another thing to fear. Imagine the experience.
Despite all these, Jesus tells them “courage!! It is I.”
This indicates that sometimes we might have some reasons to fear, to remain afraid of the covid, afraid of losing our job, afraid of the future etc., but Jesus says “despite all these, stay in courage and not in fear.
It is I.
When Jesus says “Be courageous it is I”, He is reminding the apostles that He is the Emmanuel; God is with us. He is assuring them of His ever-abiding presence and that with Him, they should have no cause to fear.
Hence, Jesus is assuring them not to live in fear, but rather trust in what He can do for them even amid the trouble. “It is I” is a reminder of the “I am”s in the gospel of John.
It is like telling the disciples “Do not fear I am the Good Shepherd “, “ Do not be afraid, I am still with you” etc., God has not abandoned us. Therefore, let us always stay faithful.
That you are sick, suffering, passing through hard times is not a sign that God has deserted you. Remain faithful and stay strong still.
What Fear Can Do?
Living in fear is already a decision to remain stagnant. Fear keeps us from reaching out or coming out of our comfort zones. Among all the apostles, it is only Peter that takes the courage to walk to the Lord.
Therefore, we can never reach out, we can never succeed if we stay in it.
Do not live in fear if you want to come out of your difficulties. This is the time to conquer the negative voices and come out of your comfort zone. You can then walk your way to victory like Peter walked to the Lord.
Then you would see that the things we fear are not fearful in themselves. We can see that many things we think are impossible are possible with God.
As Peter walked on the water, which in a normal case can never be, we can walk on these challenges if we remain faithful.
2.Whenever we decide to live in fear, we begin to sink. When Peter was walking on the water and He felt the force of the storm, Peter removed his attention from the Lord to the storm.
The truth is that as we sail through life, as we walk to victory, the storms of life may come from nowhere, they might push us to focus on the circumstances instead of the destination.
When we fix our attention on circumstances than on God, when we begin to focus on what we fear we must begin to sink.
When we begin to worry and lose sight of where we are going, knowing quite well that this might be one of the challenges of life, we will always sink.
Seek the face of God in the Midst of Troubles.
In today’s gospel, Jesus keeps quiet until Peter shouts “Lord save me”. And the Lord does not waste a minute. This is a reminder of Matthew 7:7 “ask and you shall receive.
When trouble comes, seeking the face of God is better than running away from God.
Seek Him more than you do before at this time. So, do not live in fear. Our salvation comes from the Lord and our effort to come out of our difficulties. Instead of living in fear, hang your faith in God and work your way out.
May God bless you, dearest, and help us to overcome all our challenges, Amen.