In Sunday’s sermon I said that having peace with God means that we can face our fears. In this article, I want to talk through the practicalities of doing that.
The first step of course is to recognise exactly what it is that we are afraid of. This also helps us to properly assess the risk. The disciples in the boat on the lake (Matthew 8:23ff) were in genuine danger. The storm is described as seismic, the waves are coming over the boat. The risk is real and so, they were not wrong to have a level of fear. Complacency would have meant that they simply shrugged at the weather. Foolhardiness would have meant that they thought they could simply persevere into the storm without Christ’s help.
There is an alternative to complacency, foolhardiness and the panic-stricken way in which they approach the Lord. That would have been to come to him with faith, acknowledging their fear but trusting him completely in the situation.
In life, we will face real danger, real threats, real fears. It is right that we identify them and recognise the level of danger. However the second step is to trust Christ and to recognise that he is with us in the storm, we are not alone.
The third step is to prayerfully and with the wise advice of others decide the best course of action. Sometimes it is to move away from the danger, sometimes it is to stay put. There is nothing wrong with either decision. However, there are times when what we really need to do is head into the storm. We may be afraid, we may be alert to danger but we see that there is a need and so we obey the call to go.
When that is the situation, pray and get the prayer support of others. Be realistic, heading into the danger with Christ does not offer me the guarantee that it will all turn out fine for me in physical terms. I don’t get a magic pass out of suffering. However, what I know is that even if the worst gets thrown at me, it isn’t the worst that I could face. You see, the worst happened in my past, I have already died. The worst was in fact the best because dying to self means that I am raised in Christ. This means that I can look forward knowing that I am spiritually secure. Whatever is thrown at me, my life remains hid in Christ. I cannot lose my identity and security in him.
What fear do you need to turn and face today?