When… you are afraid
“On that day, when evening had come, He said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd behind, they took Him with them in the boat, just as He was. Other boats were with Him. A great gale arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But He was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him up and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’ He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?’” Mark 4:35 – 41
Long story. But let’s ask the question, “Of what were the disciples most afraid?” Was it the wind and the waves and the storm? Was it Jesus, their boat captain who had power over the wind and the waves of the storm? The first threatened their physical lives. The second has power over all life!
In the Book of Wisdom, we read, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 9:10) But we hear God saying time and time again throughout the Bible, “Do not be afraid, I Am with you.” Which is it then? Does God want us to be afraid or not? Which leads us to a second question, “What kind of ‘fear’ is the beginning of wisdom?”
I prefer to think of “awe” as opposed to “fear”. God is awesome in both power and love. I stand in awe of God. Better yet, I fall down before God in awe and wonder. That’s worship. That’s wisdom. When I consider how great God is and how temporary and small, I am, I am in awe. When I stand at the cross of Christ and at the empty tomb and think this is what God has done “once and for all”, I am in awe. That’s worship. That’s wisdom.
Fear the Lord, because God is great, and God is good, and God is eternal, everlasting love. Be in awe. Don’t be afraid, because God is great, and God is good, and God is eternal, everlasting love.