Earlier this week, I had the incredible opportunity to spend a few days at St. Augustine Beach with my Dad and Grandma.  One evening, I was sitting on the sand enjoying the refreshing surf as it lapped against my feet.  Within minutes, the wind started to blow and the rain began to fall.  As the thunder roared and the lightning flashed, I sat there in awe of the undeniable beauty that was set before me, even in the midst of these otherwise inclement conditions.  The infinite array of colors in the sky was barely visible among the graying clouds, but it was still evident that the sun was soon setting.  Even with the impending thunderstorm, the waves continued to roll in, spreading out across the sand in the same orderly fashion as they had minutes, hours, even days before.

But it wasn’t the thunder, the lightning, or the rain that held true beauty.  Instead, it was the beauty of knowing that God himself had created the vast ocean that I had the privilege to behold.  It was His hand that was guiding each and every rain drop, and He was the one controlling the Heavens above, ensuring that each bolt of lightning and each clap of thunder were orchestrated at the precise time and location.  Walking back to the hotel, I had no fear.  I knew that the same God who was watching over each and every detail of the storm was most assuredly watching over me.

Sometimes in life, though, we do not have this same reassurance.  There are things that we encounter that seem too scary to handle.  Fear grips our innermost being and we can barely move, speak, or even breathe at times.  It may be something greater than a thunderstorm passing overhead.  It may be a physical storm, in the form of cancer, Alzheimer’s, or some other illness.  You could also be facing a mental or emotional storm, whether it is a battle with depression, anxiety, or some other crippling condition that has you trapped in a pit of fear, causing you to feel as if there is no way out.  Someone you know may be frightening you with their condescending or threatening language.  Fear can take on many forms, many of which can jeopardize an individual’s ability to live a normal life.  Being afraid can even cause a person to feel that they are knocking at death’s door.

Even Jesus’ disciples were so scared one day that they thought they were going to die.  Although they traveled and ministered with the Lord and Savior, they were not immune to fear.  Matthew 8:24-25 tells the story best:  “Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat.  But Jesus was sleeping.  The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’”  Even with Jesus on their boat, the disciples were still filled with fear.  Instead of realizing that Jesus was sleeping, completely unconcerned by the storm outside, they began to lose faith.

Think about it.  The King of Kings and Lord of Lords was actually on their boat, yet they were still scared. Jesus had performed many miracles.  In Matthew chapter 8, we read that Jesus healed a man with leprosy, a paralyzed servant, and even Peter’s mother-in-law.  Nevertheless, the disciples still doubted His ability to keep them safe in the midst of a raging storm.  They looked at the situation with human eyes, considering the “what ifs.”  I’m sure they thought about the possibility that the boat could capsize.  What if they are knocked overboard and cannot swim to safety?  What if the boat broke into a million pieces?  Instead of thinking of all of the negative possibilities, they should have been praising God, thanking Him for delivering them from the storm, having faith that He would protect them from all harm.

Jesus wasn’t upset with their reaction to the storm.  He only had one question for His disciples.  He asked, “‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’” (Matthew 8:26).  The same question could apply to you and me.  Why are we afraid?  We have Jesus Christ on our boat.  There is no need to fear.  No matter what situation we are going through, we can rest assured that Jesus Christ is with us always.  He will calm every storm in our life.  Just as He rebuked the winds and waves and calmed the storm with His disciples, He will do the same for us (Matthew 8:26).  So the next time you are in a frightening situation, focus your eyes on Jesus Christ.  Find beauty amidst the darkness.  Have faith that Jesus Christ will calm the storm and keep you safe from all harm.  Don’t be afraid.  Be courageous.  Jesus is with you!  (Matthew 14:27)

In Christ’s Love,