This morning I spent time marking all the places in scripture where God says "do not be afraid." (Note: if you decide to do this and use biblegateway.com, be sure and just put the word afraid in so you can get all of them.)
It took me over an hour to get them all marked. I was amazed as I did it to look at all the circumstances facing those that needed to hear "do not be afraid." Some of them were afraid of other people, some at the presence of an angel, others of physical circumstances, or unmet dreams. There was also a couple of other words that often accompanied those 4 words, "do not be discouraged."
I began asking myself, where in my life am I afraid? Where do I have fear? And where am I discouraged? The last month has been tough. (See previous post. My Dad's dad did pass away a week ago.) I have battled having fears inside that I was going to get a call about someone else passing away. Or I have felt discouraged that I am so emotional and don't feel much like doing anything. I have battled fears of disappointing people or not being enough. Being discouraged that I don't have all the answers. (I know... duh!)
Then as I was going through all these passages, I came upon Mark 6:50. The disciples are out on the sea and they are in a storm. They are struggling to row and fight the wind and waves. An interesting thing to note before we go farther is that Jesus actually insisted that they go out! Read 6:45. He knew where He was sending them, and He knew what was coming. But He also knew He would arrive to be with them in the storm. I like the fact that Jesus walked out on the water. I like that He arrives in a supernatural way. And then what He says to them... "Do not be afraid. Take courage! I am here!"
OK, so it clicks in my head... the fear and the discouragement come together at this moment. The answer for their fear and the way to take courage is by knowing Him. Taking Him in. Allowing Him to be the calm. When He got into their boat... the wind stopped!
I will pause here for a second and open a little of that part of me that has doubts and questions. Some of the things I ask myself as I read this passage... and just plain walk through this life with others. "Why?" "Why send them out when you knew it was going to storm?" "Why make them go through it in the first place?" "Why not spare them the fear and discouragement?" I don't always understand and I don't always like it... but I know the answer is true. He is the only answer and of myself, I will just battle the waves and try to row my way out. He wants me to let Him in, He wants me to trust Him, He wants me to realize that HE IS HERE! And I know, and HE KNOWS, that I won't naturally trust and rely on Him!
So today, as I continue to wrestle through the storms that have come this past month... and they have been the thunder and lightening kind, I am continuing to invite Him into my boat. And looking to Him for peace and courage. Choosing to believe that I DO NOT have to BE AFRAID... because HE IS HERE!!!