Fear for them had not been just a misplaced or panic button emotion; it was a secondary operating system for their lives. And who could blame them. When life was starting to make sense an engaging rabbi comes around and calls them to follow Him. They leave what they know to the unknown and they are disoriented. And even at this moment when some are in their zone, their happy place. They are in a boat on the water. No crowds, no invalids, no study sessions, and no opposition. It is just them, the open waters, and the peace that is restoring their soul.
Who knows maybe the minds of these disciples began to wander. Maybe they were experience a reorientation but on the wrong thing. Maybe they looked out on those waters and began designing a bumper sticker for their donkey, “I’d rather be fishing.” Maybe the idea of complacency was a greater comfort than what Jesus was calling them to with this new Kingdom business. And there it is; fear! Fear operating in them through a Jonah sized vision to return, rather than press on into the unknown. But before they can even get halfway to the other side and have their plan etched in stone, a squall evolves. Fear due to complacency and fear of the unknown has now been replaced with fear of the known. A fear some of them knew too well. A fear of wind, rain, and water that would destroy any new promise. And just when it seems right to wake the teacher so all can die knowingly, he vanquishes the storm in its entirety, with two command, “Peace, be still!”
The call to faith wasn’t simply about the squall on the sea. The call to faith was allow God’s call on their life be the chief operating system. Jesus is trying to destroy the spyware of fear. This calming of the storm is an event that happens toward the beginning of their journey with Jesus. Fear of complacency, unknown, physical dangers, spiritual woes have no dominion over the Messiah.
Today is no different. We cannot allow fear of complacency or unknown distract us from the purpose God has laid out for his children. It’s okay to be scared when we hear the word cancer, when we shake uncontrollably from withdrawal, when our marriage begins to tank, when our children make terrible choices, when our church seems shallow or distant, or when death and grief turn us upside down. It’s not okay to wake The Christ simply to help you hold the boat you’re in together. Wake him with faith in your heart that He can say the words, “Peace, be still!”
There is more to this life than the results of our particular circumstances or crises. Faith in God does not bring you a guarantee of health and wealth. It does, however, bring you out of fear and darkness into a marvelous light that along with a faithful community will hold you up during the strangest and most difficult periods of life. But my real hope is that operating with faith over fear will motivate us as his people to stop wishing for complacent, easy answers to a life in Christianity and instead will move us to risk ourselves for Kingdom purposes and relationships with other believers and ultimately with our Triune God.