When we’re kids, we all have irrational fears. Generally, those fears stem from a lack of understanding or knowledge—like that monsters aren’t actually in your closet. As we get older, our fears become increasingly rational. I imagine that your greatest fear right now isn’t spiders, the dark, or monsters. But maybe it’s your relationships, your job, and maybe just the future in general.
So, I have an uncomfortable, awkward question for you: What scares you the most?
A sin you can’t beat?
A conversation or confrontation?
That you’ll never be good enough?
In Matthew 14, Jesus sends His disciples out on a boat while He goes off by himself. A storm starts to swell around the boat, and naturally the disciples are freaking out. Just like you and I would be. Jesus comes to them, walking on the water, and says this:
“Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”
— Matthew 14:27 NLT
You’ve heard this verse a million times, I know. Countless sermon illustrations, worship songs, other blog posts maybe. But before you gloss over it, I want to point something out: the disciples had every reason to be afraid. Often, when we hear Bible verses that tell us “fear not,” we attempt to minimize our circumstances, and pretend they aren’t worth being afraid of.
Notice that Jesus didn’t tell His disciples, “It’s just a silly storm! Don’t be afraid!” Instead, Jesus shifted the focus to Himself (“I am here!”) and acknowledged that the situation was, in fact, terrifying.
A few weeks ago, I heard a message from Andy Stanley called “Fear Not.” In the message, Andy had everyone repeat a phrase that has stuck with me since:
“I don’t have to be afraid, even when there’s
something to be afraid of. “
Right now, your situation might be scary. It might be terrifying. There might actually be something worth being afraid of. But you don’t have to be afraid.
Fear is a heavy burden to carry. I want to ask you humbly: would you surrender that fear to Jesus today? It’s not going to make your situation less scary, but it will help you trust in a God that can walk on water, and in spite of our terrifying circumstances, can look at us with confidence and whisper, “Don’t be afraid.”