Faith Over Fear
Well, hello there! It feels like it’s been forever since I have had the chance to sit and write a blog! I have thoroughly enjoyed my Christmas and New Year break, but I am so ready to get back into the swing of things! Leading up to the New Year, I saw so many people posting words that they were going to live out in 2019. I considered doing this, thinking of areas of my life that I was lacking in faith, or courage, or consistency, but couldn’t nail one word down. It wasn’t because I couldn’t find anything there… maybe it was just because there were too many things to choose from! Lol! So, I started brainstorming…. yet nothing really stood out to me.
Then, one day, as I was on my way to pick up Naya from school, I came to the bridge that leads into Cynthiana. I cross this bridge (or the other one adjacent to it) at least twice a day, sometimes more, and EVERY time I get this anxious feeling that literally makes my heart skip a beat! I can feel it in my chest, no lie! My fingers grip the steering wheel as I white knuckle my way over the bridge while holding my breath, trying not to have a panic attack. If you know this bridge, you know there is a traffic light just at the other side. Who does that! Why would anyone put a light at the end of a bridge, causing the bridge to withstand dead weight for lengthy periods of time? Doesn’t that age the bridge faster? Surely it does! My luck that day, a semi-truck was in front of me, and a line of cars behind me. Typically, I would stop at the front of the bridge if I am lucky enough to see the light turn yellow. That day, it turned yellow just as I started driving onto it! I was hoping and praying the semi-truck driver would be a rebel for just this one moment and run the dang light… but, of course he didn’t! He stopped. This left me right smack in the middle of this little old bridge with cars lined up behind me, and muddy water beneath me. I was stuck.
You know those times in the movies where the main character’s life flashes in front of their eyes, right before something tragic happens? Well, usually it only flashes for a few short seconds as I cross the bridge each day. But today, that darn light made my life flash before my eyes for what seemed like 15 minutes! I was literally about to lose my mind! My head was all of a sudden on a swivel that turned in every direction it possibly could to desperately find a way out. I am sure the people in the car behind me probably thought I was either jamming to some great tunes or high on drugs! My eyes wandered across the bridge, full of cracks and potholes; then underneath the bridge, which was brown mucky water that was so high from all the record-breaking rain this fall.
My thoughts started running wild. “I know I will definitely get caught up in an undertow and never get out! And how in the world will I be able to see through that mucky water to unbuckle Nora’s car seat in the back of the van. Oh, my goodness, she is asleep! Would she even wake up if we went down? Surely, she would be so disoriented she would not know what to do! And that muddy water would make it nearly impossible to save her life! And even if I did get her out of the car seat, how would I get her out of the van without us drowning first?”
Okay, I could probably go on and on for about another page worth of all the crazy fears that went through my head, and go through my head each time I cross over a bridge. But, I think you get the point, right? So, clearly, I have a phobia of bridges. Gephyrophobia is the fear of bridges. I know I have it. I feel it every time I am in a car or walking over a bridge. It may seem ridiculous to you; it does to my husband and kids… they make fun of me every time! But, I wouldn’t wish the feeling I get when I cross over a bridge on my worst enemy… well, maybe Satan! Which got me thinking. Phobias are just fears of different kinds. For example, I also have a fear of spiders. That is called arachnophobia. One day I almost wrecked the van when a spider started crawling towards me on the windshield. Another time, I called the church office to see if Jon could come home and kill this big spider on the ceiling. I was so scared I didn’t even care that I had to leave a message with Sammy, the senior minister, in order to rid myself of the anxiety I was feeling. (We live right next to the office in case you were starting to think I was REALLY crazy!) I am pretty sure I also have ichthyophobia, which is the fear of fish too. Pools are my favorite! Anyway, you get it! I have real fears, and plenty of them!
There are so many things that I am NOT afraid of, like rollercoasters and trying different foods! But, in the rare, or daily occasions, that my fears are put to the test, I fail miserably at having courage and faith, controlling my anxiety, and looking at things logically in the moment. So, this year my goal is to have faith over fear. Three words, not one… man, am I special, lol!
I recently had the pleasure of listening to a few audio books that hit on fear. (I will list at the end) One passage of scripture that stood out to me so clearly when dealing with fear and anxiety, is the passage where Peter walks on water with Jesus. You can find this passage in Matthew 14:22-33.
Before we dive into this passage, I want to set up the scene for you, because right before this happened, Jesus had performed a miracle, and fed 5,000 people with just 5 loaves of bread and two fish. After they had all eaten there were 12 baskets full of the broken pieces left over. The disciples had just witnessed this miracle! Peter had just seen his Lord break the bread and feed all those people like it was no big deal. After all, He was the Son of God!
So now, we pick up in verse 22 where Jesus commanded the disciples to get in the boat and cross to the other side of the sea, as he dismissed the crowds. Then Jesus went up to the mountains alone to pray until evening. (v.23) By this time the boat was a long distance from the shore, being tossed by the waves as a storm blew in. (v.24) Then, in the last part of the night, between 3am-6am, Jesus came to them, walking on the sea. (v.25) When the disciples saw him, they cried out in fear, “It’s a ghost!” (v.26) But, Jesus immediately replied, “Do not fear, it is I.” (v.27) Peter then called out to him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” (v.28) Jesus said, “Come.” So, Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. (v.29) But, when Peter took his eyes off of Jesus, and looked down at the waves and the wind, he was afraid, and started to sink into the water. He cried out to Jesus, “Lord, save me!” (v.30) Immediately, Jesus reached out His hand and grabbed Peter up out of the water saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (v.31) When they got to the boat the wind ceased. (v.32) Then the disciples worshipped Jesus, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God!” (v.33)
The first thing in this passage that stands out to me is that Jesus commanded them to get in the boat ahead of Him, and then went alone to pray; to spend time interceding for them, I am sure. Because, when we look at scripture, we see that Jesus is in heaven interceding for us, while we are seated obediently in the boat He told us to get in! When we are obedient to the calling God places on our lives, Jesus is busy interceding for us to the Father! He is fighting the waves, the waves of the enemy, while we are in the boat anxious and worried we may not make it out alive. Hebrews 7:25 says” …he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” Again, in Romans 8:34, “…Christ is the one who died- more than that, who was raised- who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” So, when I am crossing over that bridge each day, from this day forth, I will focus on the truth that Jesus is interceding for me. He understands the anxiety I feel, because He was flesh. He knew and felt anxiety in the garden. He felt the weight of the command God put on His life so much that He sweat blood! I have never sweat blood on a bridge! But, Jesus knows what my feelings are, He knows the fear I face when I see a bridge in the distance. Just as He felt it, even more so, when He saw the bridge he was to become between man and God. And I am sure, He is interceding for me as I cross that bridge each day! I am sure He has been praying I would have courage, and overcome my fear, this Gephyrophobia that shakes my courage to the core! He longs for that day, the day I focus on Him instead of that fear!
The next part of the story, is one of my favorite parts, because just as they thought they were goners, Jesus shows up… and doesn’t show up riding on a boat to save them… He shows up walking on water! No rescue boat, just Him. Because, isn’t He all we really need?
I am sure the disciples were just thinking logically, it had to be a ghost because if Jesus wanted to save us all, wouldn’t He show up in a big boat, or just calm the storm all together, just as He had before! We see earlier in Matthew 8:23-27, Jesus got into the boat and the disciples followed, then a powerful storm came in and the boat was being swamped by the waves. During all of this, Jesus was sleeping, while the disciples were freaking out! They woke Him saying, “Save us Lord, we are perishing.” Then Jesus said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” He got up and rebuked the storm and there was a great calm, leaving the disciples saying to one another, “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and sea obey him?”
Sound familiar? Well, you would think the disciples would have learned the first time, that the winds and sea obey Him! Just as you would think I would have learned the many times I drove over that bridge unscathed, that the next time would be the same. But, as the disciples needed more teaching because some people just don’t get it the first time… or the second… or the 1,000th, apparently, neither do I! The disciples were a lot like us, forgetting all the times God had protected and provided in the past, all they could see was the storm they were in. They knew when Jesus commanded them to do something, like get in a boat, they would be safe. Yet, they forgot when fear had overcome them.
I love that it says Jesus immediately answered, “Do not fear, it is I.” He didn’t wait until he got near the boat to respond and let them shiver in fear a moment longer! He responded immediately when He saw they were afraid! Jesus is quick to comfort. Quick to remind us that He’s got this! He commands us to not be afraid, because all we need is Him. And He is there!
When I was stuck on that bridge, the last thing I thought I needed was a little bit of faith. I could think of so many things I needed, like 10 more inches in front of me and behind me, so I could high tail it outta there! But faith, no. That was the last thing on my mind. Instead of thinking, “if this bridge goes down today, I get to see my heavenly Father!” I was thinking, “I can’t handle this, I am doomed to the mucky waters below!” My faith was too small in comparison to my fear.
We see next in this passage; the disciples are still in question if it is really Jesus. So, Peter calls out to Jesus in need of confirmation. He even proposed putting himself in the dreadful waves, escalating the danger of his own life, just to find out if it was really Him. If ya ask me, Peter was walking in blind faith at that moment. I feel like he blurted out something he didn’t have time to process. Because, if he had thought about it long enough to let fear set in, or doubt, he may never have walked on water at all. But, it was Peter, and he spoke without processing a lot. And thankfully, this quality came in handy this time, handy enough for Peter to check off “walking on water” from his bucket list! Many of us are like Peter, but, I am not. I would have been the LAST person on that boat to suggest I get out on the water to discover if that figure walking in the distance, on water, was a ghost or Jesus! If you haven’t figured me out yet, I am not a big risk taker! I especially don’t come up with the big risky ideas! I simply reject them.
But, if Peter had not blurted out as he did, this example of faith would have been lost. But, Peter was fearless. Oh, to be like Peter…
Jesus quickly responded, “Come.”
This has me thinking… if I were to be more like Peter, and ask God to give me cofidence enough to step out in faith, in a dangerous way, I have no doubt God would say, “Come.” and would use me to do simply amazing things! But, for now, I really just want to get over that bridge without fear! One step at a time, Amanda.
When Jesus said, “Come,” Peter did! I don’t even think he hesitated. It doesn’t mention he hesitated. Sounds to me like he just flops his legs over the side of the boat and put his feet on the water and took off in the direction of Christ!
Peter chose to remove himself from the boat of fear and bee-line it to Christ, as the other disciples stayed in boat, choosing fear over having faith. I want so badly to be more like Peter! I want to have courage, without hesitation, to take a leap of faith when God says, “Come.”
Then we see Peter do what we all do, when we choose to have faith and follow Christ. We look away. We get side tracked or distracted by the waves of the enemy, that we take our eyes off of Him. We start to focus on all those cracks and pot holes on the bridge, all the muddy waters below, and we begin to sink in fear just as Peter sank into the waves of the storm.
Good news is, as we see Peter do; all we need to do to get back on top of the water, is call out to Jesus! When Peter cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus reached out his arm and pulled Peter out of the waves of fear, and back above the water in faith. Then He said to Peter, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
I know God is powerful. I know God has a plan for my life. Why would I doubt that? Why would I think God would let me fall into that muddy water and die? Why do I choose fear over faith? Not anymore! The next time I cross over that bridge, I will rebuke that bridge in the name of Jesus, just as Jesus rebuked the storm in Matthew 8! I will quote 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given me a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” And if that doesn’t strengthen my faith enough to keep my mind and eyes on Christ, I will cry out to him, “Lord, save me!” And he will.
I no longer want to be one of the disciples who “played it safe” on the boat, and missed out on the experience Paul had! I want to be the one who proposes great feats to Christ, so that He may say, “Come.” And I will, without hesitation! I have such a long way to go before I become like Peter, but, this passage is such a powerful example of faith over fear.
I would imagine, the vast majority of you do not have a fear of bridges. But, we all have fears. The question is, Is your faith greater than your fear? If it wasn’t before, I sure hope it is now!
Let Jesus calm the storm of fear that you have been living in today. Pray with me.
Lord, we come to You today so thankful for the Word! We thank You for this powerful example of faith. We thank You for sending Your son as a bridge we can love! Lord, help us overcome our fear with faith today! Increase our faith today Lord, knowing Peter was able to walk on water gives us faith we can too! We praise You for the wonderful Father You are, faithful, true, holy, and powerful, we give You glory for all the good things we learned from this passage! We pray You would continue to strengthen our relationship with Christ. We cry out to Him in the midst of our fear, and He will save us! We claim victory over fear in Jesus name, amen!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read through my heart today! I hope you enjoyed the read and will continue to revisit my blog in the future. I love giving, and am so thankful God has blessed me enough that I am able to give back to my readers! This Friday, I will be giving away a snap bracelet, with a snap of my faith over fear design. Here are the three simple steps to enter to win:
- Follow me on Facebook or Instagram (links are in side bar)
- Comment below a fear you will commit to overcome with faith!
I will announce the winner of the bracelet Friday at 8pm on The Lesser Me Facebook and Instagram.
I hope everyone has a fantastic week!
Audiobooks mentioned above:
Anxious for Nothing By Max Lucado
Fervent By Priscilla Shirer
It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way By Lysa TerKeurst
Prayer By Timothy Keller