Faith. The substance of things hoped for. The evidence of things unseen.
Unwrapping the definition of faith, alone, is terrifying. Having and exercising the ability to believe that the things we hope and pray for will one day come to fruition is terrifying. There is always that underlying feeling of “what if”. What if my dreams never come true? What if I or someone I care about is never healed? What if I fail? What if people judge me for following the calling God placed on my life? What if something bad happens?
Crippling. Terrifying. Debilitating.
What if I told you there were plenty of accounts from people in the Bible who exercised their faith in frightening situations and came out with the victory? Would you believe me? Lend me your ear (well, your eyes) for just a moment and I’ll show you!
Imagine it – you and your friends have had a long day. You decide to take the boat out for a little night fishing when a treacherous storm rages and starts tossing your boat about the sea. In the distance you see a figure. There is a man walking on the water towards your boat.
Is that a ghost? It’s getting closer! It looks like Jesus.
You call out, “Lord, if that’s you tell me to come to you on the water!” The figure responds with “Yes, come to me!”
Fear grips your heart. It takes your breath away. You don’t know whether you should trust the ghost-like figure calling you out of the boat and onto the troubled water, or if you should stay in the boat. At that moment the decision seems easy. You fling your legs over the side of the boat and set your sights on walking out to Jesus. It’s then that you notice the wild waters and rushing winds. Any ounce of faith that you had has vanished. Gone in an instant. You’re frightened!
You begin to sink into the waves. “Lord, save me!” you cry. Immediately, Jesus reaches out and grabs you. He doesn’t hesitate, He doesn’t make you suffer. He rescues you.
In situations where the tides are high, the waters are raging, and the wind is practically knocking you off your feet – it may seem frightening to exercise your faith. In fact, you may feel like you vaguely see Jesus on the other side of the storm, but taking that first step out on the water will test you in ways that you’ve never thought possible. Just like Peter, we all take leaps of faith from time to time, but there may come a point where the situation is more than we ever imagined.
- When fear floods your faith, look for Jesus!
- When you are frightened and sinking in your fear remember that God can speak to the wind and waves and make them behave.
- When you call out to Him and He calls back – obey His commands.
Peter isn’t the only person in the Bible who exercised frightening faith.
The woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8) had to push through a crowd of people just to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment. She had to make up her mind that even though her situation was frightening her faith would make her whole.
Abraham, after praying for a son for many years, had to take a frightening journey up the mountain to sacrifice his son, out of obedience to God’s command. By being obedient and audacious in his faith towards God, Isaac was spared and Abraham was rewarded.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had to exercise faith that could move mountains. They had to put their trust, their hope, and their faith in God to save them! Their faith is what kept them through the fire. Their faith is what sustained them – regardless of the frightening moments.
Faith IS frightening! Just remember that when you are frightened it is in that single moment that your faith will make you strong!