Don’t Worry

“Are we there yet?” “Where are we?” “I want that now!” “What if?…..” “Don’t forget!….” We’ve all heard and asked these questions before, and usually get answers like, “Trust me.” “We get there when we get there.” “Stop worrying.” or simply, “no.” Why do we ask these questions? Because we want to know? Because we’re curious? Because we don’t trust? Because we worry? What is worry? What is trust?

Often times I find myself in a stage of life where I’m not sure who to turn to. Worry clouds my thought and judgment. I can’t think straight. I am driven by a single thought. “What if?” I find no comfort in friends, no comfort in family. My home feels like a prison and my life, hell. Worry is all around me like the storm on the Sea of Galilee, and I am Peter, sinking slowly.

Why didn’t Jesus save Peter then and there? Why did he even let him sink? He could have kept Peter walking solidly on water all the way out to Him, but instead He chose to let Peter see the tumult around him, to lose faith for a moment, and to sink. This is where I am right now. I am sinking. I am hopelessly drowning. I see the storm around me and I lose faith. I lose sight of my goal and my savior and focus on the world around me. But wait. Peter does not sink. The story is not over yet.

Peter cries out to Jesus to help him. This is very significant. Here he is, sinking in a massive storm, thinking that he is going to drown, and Jesus gives him a tiny bit of faith, enough faith to realize that he needs help. I need help. I must humble myself to understand that I indeed need help and I lift my hands to heaven, fall on my knees, and cry in a loud voice, “Father forgive me. Save me from this tumultuous storm. Lift me into your safe embrace. Keep me from falling.” Peter found faith, the faith that Jesus gave him, and cried for help.

And Jesus responds. The Savior reaches out his hand to rescue Peter and pulls him up out of the storm. He responds to Peter’s desperate cry for help, his small amount of faith. You see this is why we must never lose faith. Even the tiniest flicker of faith, the quietest prayer, the smallest plea for help, the Lord hears it and He will respond. Jesus denied Peter the ability to walk on water in order that he might save him. God does not say no in order to reject us, but to redirect us. He has everything in the palm of His hand, your life’s story, your falling and rising. He knows what is best, what you need the most, and He will always lead you to it. He will always respond to your cry of help. Put your full faith in Him, the creator of all. You will stumble and fall, but He will lift you up again. He will answer when you cry. He will lift you up.

Jared Vandyke

Fighting Fearfulness

Terrorists attack, politicians say outrageous things, and the world sells sex. Isn’t this world terrifying for a Christian? I mean that rhetorically, of course it is! God, speaking through Paul, in II Timothy 1:7 says “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and love, and of a sound mind.” I love this verse; it is one of my favorites. I often have used this verse to help me get by in trying and difficult circumstances. Today, I’d like to break down this verse and talk about how it can help combat the anxiety and fear that often plagues the Christian.

First off, I think it’s worth noting that this verse doesn’t say that we don’t have a spirit of fear. It doesn’t tell us that spirit of fear doesn’t exist in our hearts. What it tells us is that God hasn’t given us that spirit. I think it’s fair to say, then, that we do often experience fearfulness, but we must keep in mind that it is not given from God. Although God is the Author and Creator of our whole lives, He is not the one who feeds into our minds anxiety and worry. Instead He gives us spirits of power, love, and a sound mind in order to fight fear.

Power.  Power is something that everyone lusts after in one form or another. A businessman chases after power in the workplace, an athlete drives towards physical power, and a young woman desires power in her emotional life. We all want power. God gives the most important power to us, the power of doctrine and spirituality. It would not be possible to combat or overcome the spirit of fear if we were not given the spirit of power by God. With this spirit we have the strength to obtain victory over the fear that we often want to despair in. We have the power to resist the urge of sexual sins in our youth, young men are given the power to balance work and home life, and young women are given the power to raise children in this fallen world. All of these things can strike fear in our hearts if it weren’t for the power of God!

Love. Love also helps us fight fear. I don’t mean love in the sense that the world uses it. Love doesn’t mean that we sit back and let our friends and family do whatever they want, regardless of right or wrong. Love means that we care about one another enough to help them follow the laws of God, and to do our best to follow those laws ourselves as well. If we really understand love, it becomes clear why love drives out fear. If we love God first and foremost, and therefore love our brothers and sisters in Christ, we have nothing to fear! Our love for God teaches us that he holds us in His hand, and in His hand no fear can lay hold on us. With the spirit of love, we can also conquer fear.

A sound mind. Fears of this life often cause us to feel anxious or even depressed. When we focus on God, we receive from Him soundness of mind; a peace that quiets our souls and drives worries from our hearts. If you or someone you know has struggled with anxiety or depression, you probably understand what an unsettled mind looks like, and the fear that plagues it. With our focus on things heavenly, our minds become clear or sound. Often anxiety and depression causes us to ask the whys: “Why me,” “Why now,” “Why this?” But a sound mind throws fearfulness to the curb and looks with an uplifted face saying “God has not given me this spirit of fear! He has instead given me a sound mind!” And that is an incredible and beautiful feeling.

In the context surrounding this verse, Paul encourages Timothy not to be ashamed of the Gospel, since that is what fear does to us- it makes us ashamed to be children of God. With the power, love and soundness of mind that God gives us to fight the spirit of fear, we can boldly and bravely face this terrifying world in all its danger, immorality and impurity. With this power, love and soundness of mind we walk through this life without fear, but with courage to be Christians living lives of antithesis to the world around us.

Suzie Kuiper