Defeating Fear, Part II

3 Nov

Matthew 4:38, “And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?”

I saw a blog post about this scene this week, about the disciples rebuking Jesus for being asleep in the midst of a storm when their ship appeared to be sinking.  

It was the same week we faced Hurricane Sandy here on the East Coast.  And we who are here in coastal Virginia were very, very fortunate in that we only had high winds and flooding for a little more than 48 hours.  Not everyone got off so easily, as we can still see in New York and New Jersey.

What jumped out at me this time in reading of how panicked the disciples were to think that they (and Jesus) would die in the storm was a realization of how much more I have grown to appreciate God’s sovereign hand in our human affairs.  

First of all, it is almost unthinkable that the disciples would believe that Jesus came supernaturally to be our Messiah and would then perish in a storm.  If they were thinking He was going to challenge Rome, that would not be a successful way of doing it.  If they realized He was going to fulfill prophecies about being a blood sacrifice, well . . . you usually don’t bleed when you drown . . .

In short, their trust in God’s sovereignty during their panic was nil.  And ours can be, too.

Thankfully, I have a touchstone in my life called a close call with breast cancer almost five years ago.  Since then, I tend to stay pretty calm about the possibility of death.  And that is all God’s grace in my life.  All of Him, none of me.  

This time, I did get pretty tired of the wind roaring for more than two days straight.  We have lots of trees on our property and over the fence in our neighbor’s yard and they can be pretty intimidating in a storm.

We were home for two days, too.  Didn’t go out at all.

By the second evening, I told my husband Noel that we needed to tune into something escapist just to get away from the roar.  I didn’t want to hear it anymore.  I didn’t want to watch it out my window anymore.  I was weary of it.  Fortunately, there was a Spencer Tracy marathon on Turner Classic Movies.  Pure escapism.

But what was really wonderful both nights as we went to sleep, knowing that the saturated ground could let go of any trees on it in an instant, especially the pines with their shallow roots, was knowing that I was in the center of God’s will no matter what happened.  

It is one thing to claim Psalm 91 and to be sure in an extreme situation that you will survive.  

It is quite another to cling to the goodness of God and to believe that His sovereignty could even extend to remaining a good God if a tree fell on your house and killed your family.

That is where I was.  I curled up next to my husband’s warmth in the cold night and rested in complete peace, knowing that no matter how we awakened, God is still a good God.

That is a hard earned lesson of freedom.  

And so it is that now, when I hear the lesson of the disciples in the ship, I want to say to them, “Go curl up next to your Lord and Saviour and sleep sweet sleep.  He is the Lord of the winds and the waves, whether you awaken Him to prove it or not.  Go trust Him to care for your soul, regardless of what happens.  Life is sweet when you know that, no matter what happens, He is good.”

 

 

  

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