Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you are asking, “how did I get myself into this?” When I was around 16 years of age, I found myself standing on the edge of a platform, several stories above the ground with a bungee cord strapped to my harness. As I looked over the edge that very question entered my mind. Prior to this moment (when I was safely on the ground) the thought of bungee jumping sounded fun and exciting. But as I climbed the several flights of stairs to the top (with an AC/DC song blaring loudly about a certain highway that leads south, and I don’t mean the southern US) my excitement turned to fear and doubt.
In Mark and Matthew we read of one of the disciples experiencing a similar situation of doubt and fear. In Mark 6 the disciples are laboring in a strong headwind to row across the Sea of Galilee. Jesus has sent them on ahead of Him while He takes a moment to get away and pray. Jesus then catches up to the group by simply walking on water. Upon seeing Jesus the disciples panic thinking He is a ghost. Jesus quickly calms them down reassuring them of His presence.
Then in Matthew 14 we read that Peter asks Jesus if he too can walk on water. Jesus calls Him to come and thereby grants Peter the ability to do what no human being had ever done. The call included the power to come. This incredible moment in the life of Peter comes to an abrupt end though. As Peter notices the strong wind and waves crashing around him, he becomes filled with fear. He begins to think, “how did I get myself into this situation? I shouldn’t be doing this!” As a result Peter begins to sink down into the sea. Fortunately Jesus is right there to respond to his desperate cries for help.
Back in Mark the author ends this passage by noting that the disciples are all in awe of Jesus. But he also notes that their hearts were hardened because they did not understand about the previous miracle Jesus performed by feeding thousands of people with a meal for a small boy. The disciples were guilty of being spiritually dull or insensitive to the things of God. The miracles Jesus performed should have helped to clue them in on the greatness and power of Jesus. But they missed it. As a result they were full of fear. Doubt crept into their minds preventing them from God doing incredible things in their lives.
This is unfortunately true in my life as well. There are times that I too am full of fear or doubt. I am spiritually dull to the greatness and power of God working in my life. The fears that we encounter in this life are often numerous. So many things want to make us worry.
But this story in Mark 6 and Matthew 14 reminds us that we serve an incredibly powerful and sovereign God. When Jesus calls us to follow Him, He also empowers us with the ability to fulfill that calling. Therefore, we have absolutely nothing to fear. Now this does not mean that we will not experience suffering, hardship, or even failure in the eyes of the world around us. But it does mean that everything that happens in our life will be for our good and God’s glory.
This type of confident assurance can only come from a continual and intentional exposure to God through His Word, prayer, and gathering with other saints. As we do this, we find our faith is strengthened, our confidence in God grows, and our fear diminishes.
So, what are you afraid of? What area in your life is full of doubt? Take time to focus on the greatness and power of God through His Word and prayer and allow Jesus to encourage you as He did the disciples, take heart, it is I. Do not be afraid.”