August 10, 2004
Encouragement for Today
Why are You Afraid?
Glynnis Whitwer, Senior Editor P31 Woman, Speaker for Proverbs 31 Ministries
"He replied, 'You of little faith, why are you so afraid?' Then He got up and rebuked the winds and waves, and it was completely calm." Matthew 8:26 (NIV)
I hate being afraid. Of all the emotions, fear is the worst. I feel completely helpless to protect myself from elements outside my control - and I don't like being out of control.
Statistics don't help. It has been said that a large majority of things we fear never happen. Unfortunately, if 99% of the time something WON'T happen, I figure I'm in the 1% minority!
Positive self-talk doesn't help. Try as I might, when I'm afraid, it does no good to simply tell myself not to be afraid. The more I say, "I won't be afraid," the more my stomach knots and my heart pounds.
The disciples of Jesus had a better plan than trusting statistics or repeating positive phrases when they were afraid. They went right to the One who could address their fears.
Once, while the disciples and Jesus were on a boat in the middle of a lake, a strong storm suddenly began. In fact, it was so furious, the disciples were certain they would die. The Bible tells us the disciples woke up Jesus saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown."
Jesus responded to the disciples by saying, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?"
The Scripture then tells us Jesus got up, rebuked the winds and waves, and the storm immediately calmed.
This story illustrates three actions we can take when we are afraid.
Admit we need Jesus to save us. Fear worsens when we hold on the belief that we can save ourselves. Deep down, we know some things are completely out of our control. But nothing is out of Jesus' control.
Openly admit your fear. The disciples didn't say they were afraid of the storm, or of the boat being damaged. They admitted they were afraid of dying. Admitting our true fear often takes humility. But God desires honesty and can bring healing more easily to a humble heart.
Be in awe of Jesus. After Jesus calmed the storm, the disciples were "amazed." When God saves you from your fears, honor Him for the miracle. Don't write it off as happenstance.
God proves Himself faithful to save us everyday. We need to see with eyes of the first disciples and be amazed at what our God can do and has done. Jesus is still available to calm the winds and waves in your life today. What a mighty God was serve that even nature obeys Him.
My prayer for today:
Heavenly Father, I praise you for being capable of handling all of my fears. Forgive me for trying to handle things on my own, and not acknowledging your power to help. Help me to be honest and humble in admitting my fears. Thank you for being my Protector. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Acknowledge that most fear stems from powerlessness. Identify the root cause of some of your fears. Admit those fears to God. Trust that He is big enough to handle any of your fears.
What are the most common causes of your fears?
What is at the root of those fears? (Example: If you are afraid of being fired, what might be at the root? Is it losing your home, not having food or something else?)
Is there anything practical you can do to remove the cause of fear in your life? (Example: Can you save money so you aren't afraid of losing your home?)
If there's nothing you can do to remove the cause of fear, acknowledge your dependence on God as your protector. Write out how God can protect you from your fears.
List some of the attributes of God to remind yourself of how powerful our God is.
"'Because he (she) loves Me,' says the Lord, 'I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges My name.'" Psalm 91:14 (NIV)
"He (she) will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him." Psalm 91:15 (NIV)
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me." Psalm 23:4 (NIV)
"So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'" Hebrews 13:6 (NIV)
" ... Be strong and courageous. Do not be worried; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
P31 Woman Magazine by Proverbs 31 Ministries
Who Holds the Key to Your Heart? by Lysa TerKeurst
Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God by Sharon Jaynes