Fear or Faith?

“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’” Mark 4:40.

The disciples were terrified as they watched the unrelenting waves crash over their boat on the Sea of Galilee and threaten to sink it. They were afraid of the deep water of the sea, viewing it as an abyss and a symbol of hell. In the midst of the angry storm and fearing for their lives, they turned to Jesus, who was sleeping peacefully in the back of the boat. Waking him up, the disciples cried, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

Jesus got up and, with three words, rebuked the howling wind and the raging water. “Quiet! Be still!” And just like that, all was completely calm.

He then turned to his disciples and rebuked them: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

Jesus understood that fear is the enemy of faith and one of Satan’s greatest weapons. Satan uses fear to cause us to forget that God is sovereign and in control of our circumstances. When we are afraid, we overlook God’s many promises to never leave us or forsake us. Our mind goes numb and we do not remember God’s guarantee to work everything together for our good. When we fear, we focus on the waves and not their Maker, forgetting that God is faithful. We begin to doubt that he is able to and will carry us through our present storm.

If we abandon faith in Jesus Christ and surrender to fear, we exchange the truth of God for the lie of the enemy. Instead, we must stand firm in the faith and be courageous.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  John 14:27

Today, American evangelical Christians are in a fierce squall on the eve of the dreadful 2016 Presidential election, and fear threatens to take the place of the peace of God in our hearts and minds. We need to remind ourselves that God is sovereign over all, including both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and he can and will use either one of them to accomplish his purposes. As Christian author Max Lucado writes:

“I have a prediction. I know exactly what November 9 will bring. Another day of God’s perfect sovereignty. He will still be in charge. His throne will still be occupied. He will still manage the affairs of the world. Never before has His providence depended on a king, president, or ruler. And it won’t on November 9, 2016. “The LORD can control a king’s mind as he controls a river; he can direct it as he pleases” (Proverbs 21:1 NCV).

 On one occasion the Lord turned the heart of the King of Assyria so that he aided them in the construction of the Temple. On another occasion, he stirred the heart of Cyrus to release the Jews to return to Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar was considered to be the mightiest king of his generation. But God humbled and put him in “detention” for seven years. “The kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations” (Psalms 22:28).

 Understanding God’s sovereignty over the nations opens the door to peace. When we realize that God influences the hearts of all rulers, we can then choose to pray for them rather than fret about them. Rather than wring our hands we bend our knees, we select prayer over despair.”

When the storm arose on the Sea of Galilee, the disciples temporarily forgot that Jesus, the Savior of the world, was in their boat with them.  When, after much fear and hand wringing they realized that they could not control their circumstances but fortunately, there was One in their midst who could, they cried out to him to save them.

For those of us who know Jesus as our Lord, we have nothing to fear with this election. If we place our faith and trust in God, he will give us peace both in the midst of this current political storm and, regardless of who is elected President, in its anticipated devastating aftermath. Just as he did with the disciples, God will lead us safe to shore.

“Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save…. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.” Psalm 146:3,5

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise – in God I trust and am not afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?” Psalm 56:3-4

“Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible.  There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible.  Faith begins where man’s power ends.” – George Muller