What Are You Afraid Of
In Mark 4 we’re told of a day when Jesus was out on the lake with his disciples when a massive storm caught them off guard. The disciples were in a panic when they realized Jesus was sleeping! They said to him, ‘Don’t you care if we all drown!?’ Jesus then wakes up and speaks to the storm “Quiet! Be still!” The storm obeys. He then turns to his friends and asks a question. Put yourself in the situation. What would you expect him to ask?
“Why didn’t you get me sooner!?”
“Is everyone alright?”
No. Jesus asks, “Why are you afraid?” Duh! Fear seems to be a perfectly reasonable emotion given the circumstances, wouldn’t you say? But Mark goes on to report after the sea had calmed down, “They were filled with great fear and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’” Jesus answered their prayer. The danger was gone. But the disciples were still afraid. Rather than a feeling of peace and gratitude their fear of the storm was replaced with…fear of something, or rather Someone else.
Let me tell you, the response of the disciples should be the every-day-normal for those of us who know Jesus. How often do you pray, only to say “Amen” and go on about your day? Can you remember a time God answered your prayer but after a quick “Wow, thanks”, you had mentally moved on? Can you imagine how strange it would have been if the disciples had simply exchanged high-fives and gone about their business? When God shows up we better be afraid.
Everything we hope to be now and in eternity lies in the hands of the One we pray to so cavalierly. The ancients assumed it was common knowledge if you knew nothing else about God, you knew to fear him. You knew where you stood. We are in danger of losing this perspective. We must again and again remind ourselves, and speak prophetically to our culture, of the need to stand in awe of and to fear our God. As the kings of Israel knew well thousands of years ago, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps. 111:10, Pvb. 9:10).
As you learn to fear God and, from that fear, surrender to his goodness, you will find you are unlearning your fear of everything and everyone else.