Devotions, General Devotions

Don’t panic!

Today’s Scripture passage:

“ Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.”

“ Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’ ‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’ ‘Come,’ he said.

‘Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’”

“ And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’” Matthew 14:22-33

Stuck by Fear

I have instilled into my children the dangers of going into the street. Maybe a little too much, because today as my five year daughter ventured slowly into the street on her bicycle as we crossed together for home (after we had checked for cars, of course), her bike got stuck. Immediately, she panicked. I was standing less than a foot away from her and quickly I reassured her it was O.K., because I was right there. As I spoke those words, I reached over and helped her get going again.

Parallels

It reminded me of myself. How many times I am doing something and I get “stuck” somehow and my first, visceral response is panic? It doesn’t seem to matter if the problem is big or small, real or imagined, sometimes I just panic. Unfortunately, that reaction, indicates a lack of faith on my part, because it shows that I am focusing on the problem and not on the fact that God always has everything completely under control.

Jesus responds to our fear, but wants us to have faith in Him

As I read my Bible, I am strangely comforted that I am not the first believer to do that (or the last). Peter was in a similar situation. A seasoned fisherman and one who, apparently, could swim (see John 21:7-8), when Jesus bid him come onto the water, he did so willingly. But, then, he panicked. He took his eyes off His (and our) all powerful God, gave into his fear and panicked.

Quickly and efficiently, Jesus reached out and “saved” him. Was Peter is real danger? I am thinking He wasn’t. He wasn’t far from the boat, after all, and we know he can swim at least 100 yards, right? So, what happened? Peter simply had a lack of faith and the dude came unglued. He did not trust God. In the moment when he took his eyes off of the Lord, He forgot that God is always in control and we can trust Him to take care of us.

There’s no reason to panic

Jesus rebuked Peter for his lack of faith. I suspect He may say the same thing to me when I am displaying a lack of faith (boy that’s a fancy way of saying “freaking out,” isn’t it?). Throughout my life, Jesus has clearly shown that He is in control and has a plan, even when everything seems to be going wrong. He has shown his ability to rescue me when I need it and to reassure me when I simply need to trust more. He is more than worthy of our trust and, no matter what is going on in our lives, big or small, real or imagined, we can keep our eyes on Him, knowing He is good, He loves us and He is able to do “exceedingly abundantly above what we ask or think…to Him be the glory.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Almighty Father, I know You are more than worthy of my trust. You have repeatedly shown that You are in control and You can see me through everything. I am so sorry for the times I inexcusably have a lack of faith. Please forgive me. And, Lord, help me to trust You always. You are truly amazing! Thank You for all You do! Amen

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