Driving Out Fear

Read Mark 6:45-52.

Waves sweep dangerously over the bow of their boat as the disciples straining at the oars to keep afloat. Stormy winds rage all around them. Jesus, who stayed ashore to pray on a mountainside, sees their struggle from afar and walks across the swirling waves to be with them in their struggle.

Jesus could have remained on shore and calmed the winds from a distance. This certainly would have made his walk on the water much easier! But instead, he chooses the most difficult route, venturing out to join the disciples in the turbulent storm.

As he approaches the disciples’ boat, they cry out in terror mistaking him for a ghost. But he reassures them with encouraging words: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbs into the boat and calms the winds.

Uncertainty and fear feel like the prevailing winds in our world right now. Some people are struggling to make ends meet due to income losses as businesses close. Many of us are concerned for the health of our loved ones and those in our community. Giving in to fear – even panic – feels like a natural response right now.

Yet in this encounter with the disciples, Jesus reveals the heart of God to comfort us today as we confront life’s storms. As was we “strain against the oars” to contain the coronavirus and its effects on our society, Jesus reminds us, “I am here in the midst of the storm with you. Don’t be afraid.” He sees our struggles, comes near to us, and accompanies us through the storm — whether or not he decides to calm it. How have you sensed Jesus’ presence in the midst of our current storm?

Jesus takes tangible action to demonstrate his love for his disciples. By weathering the storm with them and providing encouragement to them, he transforms their fear into amazement. As John reminds us, we don’t drive out fear by wishing it away—we drive out fear by acting in love (1 John 4:18).

Many people in our community are experiencing fear right now, but we have the opportunity to demonstrate God’s love for them by driving our their fears with acts of love. Consider what tangible ways you can demonstrate God’s love to your neighbors.

Who in your life needs someone to be present with them (even by video) as they weather our current storm? How could you offer practical help to the most vulnerable in our community right now? Who in your life needs to hear these words of encouragement today: “Take courage! God is near. Don’t be afraid.”?


✍️ Credit :: Matt Rhodes
📸 Credit :: Matt Rhodes
🎨 Credit :: Matt Rhodes