Ministry Resources

Anxiety, The Storm that Unravels

Life is filled with unknown dangers. It seems like so much of life is out of our control. Often, just when we think we have gotten control over our lives, the things of our lives become unraveled.

We often wonder where we can turn in our moments of uncertainty and anxiety. Hopefully we have people who have surrounded us, who love us, and give their best to support us in our anxious times. We may have a religious tradition to which we identify. This tradition gives us certain rituals, practices and prayers that we can offer to help us endure the pressures we feel weighing down on our lives.

When the foundations of our lives are shaken

But what do we do when everything that was given to us fails to bring the peace in our minds and hearts that we seek? If the foundations of our lives are being shaken where can we turn?

In the Bible the Psalmist asked this very question: “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)

Jesus is in the boat

We find a story from the life of Jesus that can help us find the refuge that we seek. We read in the gospels of how Jesus calms the storm.  (Mark 4:35-41).

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 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?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” In fear and amazement, they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

Jesus decides it is time to go over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. He along with his 12 disciples get into a boat and set out to cross the sea. Jesus uses this time as an opportunity to teach the disciples about faith and trust. He wants them to learn how faith in His presence and power can keep from falling into fear and anxiety.

Jesus is in the boat as they sail across the sea and He decides that it is a good moment to get some shut eye. Therefore, He lays down and takes a nap.

While He is asleep, the Bible says that a furious squall came up on the sea. Large waves began to beat against the boat and broke over the sides of the boat. We read that the boat was almost swamped.

To the disciples everything looked overwhelmingly grim. For the disciples it appeared they could all soon perish. Worry, anxiety and fear gripped their hearts and minds.

The Bible says that during this crisis Jesus was in the stern of the boat fast asleep. This reminds us that nothing that comes our way as children of God surprises God. God is in control. He knows what is best for us. He will not fail us. He is calm and at rest, ready to intervene at the right moment. This story also reminds us that Jesus wants to give us His calm and rest in the midst of the storms of life if we will but trust Him.

The disciples should have looked at Jesus calmly sleeping and said to themselves that they were perfectly safe. The Savior is with them in the boat. He is perfectly calm and asleep in the storm. They should have known that He would bring them safely through the storm. They only needed to trust him.

Anxiety and worry take over in the disciples’ lives. The Bible says, “the disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

Instead of trusting the Savoir they let their sinful instincts take over. Unbelief gripped their hearts. They looked at the situation from a human point of view. Their evaluation of the situation was as if they forgot that the Savior, the Maker of heaven and earth was with them in the boat.

They had seen Jesus do many miracles. He fed the five thousand. He even raised the dead. But in this moment of anxious uncertainty, they looked at themselves and forgot the eternal power and love of God that is found in the Son of God. He was not going to fail them. He was not going to let them perish.

When anxiety floods our minds

Anxiety floods our minds in the moment we forget Jesus. We forget that He is right there in the boat with us. He is there at rest, in control, being always faithful. He wants to pass on to our hearts His peace and rest, but we have to recognize Him. We have to confess Him. We have to call on Him in faith. We have to trust Him, knowing that He is very near in our time of trouble and that He will never fail us.

They never asked themselves the question, “Will this boat sink and we lose our lives when the Messiah, the very Son of God is in the boat with us?” We need to ask ourselves the same kind of question, “Will the Savior who bled and died for our redemption, and three days later arose from the dead, conquering all evil, fail us in our time of need?”

Jesus, as He was awakened by the fearful and anxious disciples, immediately takes action in their behalf. The Bible says, “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” And the Bible says, “Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.”

This reminds us that Jesus can calm the winds of the storm that is striking our lives. Is it a sickness? Is it a financial need? Is it a rebellious child? Is it the threat of a natural disaster? Is it the multiplied pressures of life in this fallen world? Jesus is very near. His help is but one prayer away.

Jesus is there to say, “Quiet! Be Still!” Now our troubles may not instantly disappear. But He does speak. He speaks peace to our hearts. He gives confidence that we are headed in the right direction because now our lives and the circumstances of our lives are in His hands.

Have we forgotten that Jesus is in our boat by letting our hearts wander? Have other things taken His place in the center of our minds and hearts? Has anxiety gripped us because we want the things God gives us more than we want the Giver of all things? Has anxiety taken over because we fear we are going to lose something that has become more important to us than the Savior himself?

Refocus and allow Jesus back in the boat

We must refocus and allow Jesus back in the boat of our lives. We need to worship Him and Him alone. We must seek first His Kingdom and let Jesus be the Lord of all. We need to trust Him with all of our heart.

This is way the apostle Peter writes to us, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

He cares. He is there in our time of trouble. In faith we can cast all of our anxious thoughts, all of our cares, all of the pressures of life on Him. He took the sin and blight of this fallen world upon himself on the cross. Therefore, the cross speaks to us today of freedom. This includes the freedom of the burden of carrying our own troubles. It is freedom from anxiety as we gaze upon the cross from whence comes our eternal help and deliverance.

The disciples ask themselves as they were still gripped with fear, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him!”  He was Almighty God who took on human flesh and lived among us. He still is the all-powerful Son of God who can bring us through every difficulty.

As we trust Him, He can calm the storm that enters our minds and souls. As we reach out to Him in faith and as we call upon Him in our time of distress, He brings peace to our souls.

The Prince of Peace immediately arises and stands up in our behalf. He then takes control of the situation. By faith we must step out of the way and let the Savior take over and demonstrate His powerful love. We know we are in His hands. We sense that He is near. Anxiety ceases. We experience a peace that transcends all understanding.

This help from the Savior begins by trusting Him and Him alone for our salvation. Jesus took our place upon the cross. The Just died for the unjust. Three days later He arose from the dead. Through His death and resurrection are sins are forgiven. We must follow Him with all of our hearts.

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