As I stand on the shore of the beach and the waters of the ocean cool my sunburnt feet, I stare out into the horizon and remember an audio I love called “Bring Me To The Horizon” by Chris Brady. One sentence that Chris said in that audio has always stood out to me ever since I heard it and goes like this. “There is no safety in a significant life and there is no significance in a safe life.” In the audio, Chris was encouraging the people in the audience and those listening to the audio (like myself) to get out of the shallow end of life and get into the depths of life. Lately I’ve been thinking that I have been playing this game of life too small. The reason for this? A one word answer. Fear.
I believe fear started taking over my young life when I was in 7th grade. I don’t know why, but maybe it had something to do with being surrounded by other students much older then me. I do remember though that I was afraid of a lot of things. I was afraid to make new friends. I was afraid to ask a girl classmate to the high school dance. I was afraid to dance at the high school dance. I was afraid to try new things. I was afraid of looking like a fool. I was afraid of…fill in the blank and I’m sure I was afraid of it.
I wish I could say that the grip of fear has left me since I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ, but fighting against the grip of fear is my daily battle. Even when I was on the beach and my beautiful bride is encouraging me to “get in the water”, I had the following fearful thoughts running through my mind; “I can’t go in the ocean water, I’m not a very strong swimmer. She knows that. Why does she keep telling me to come out into the water? What if I do go in and a rip current comes and take me away? What if a jelly fish is brought up by the waves, sticks to my leg and stings me? What if a shark comes close to shore and bites one of us? What if one of those planes that are flying above has a malfunction and crashes right near us in the ocean?”
While some of these thoughts are reasonable thoughts, I knew fear was holding me back from having quality time with my wife (By the way, I did end up going into the water). I was then reminded of the events of surrounding the disciples and Jesus that is found in Matthew 8.
“Then he (Jesus) got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”-Matthew 8:23-27
Imagine being one of the disciples on that boat as you ride through the furious storm. The rain is coming down. The waves are crashing over the boat and the wind is howling. You might be thinking “This is it! This is how my life is going to end!” Now imagine seeing Jesus sleeping. What’s your first response? Me personally, I chuckle at that thought. I would think to myself, just like the other disciples probably did, “How can Jesus be sleeping? Doesn’t He care that we could potentially die?!” Of course He cares, that’s not the right question to ask. The right question to ask is, “If Jesus is at peace, so much so that He could sleep through the storm, why aren’t I at peace?” The answer is probably has to do with the fact that we aren’t trusting in ourselves (or others) more then we are trusting in Jesus.
As the scriptures share, Jesus did wake up and calmed the storm, showing that He is fully sovereign and in control of ALL things. What I was reminded of is that we shouldn’t let the fear hold us back from doing or becoming the man or woman the Lord created us to be. We shouldn’t let fear of man be the controlling factor on whether or not we will live of life for Christ. We shouldn’t let fear be the controlling factor on whether or not we should try to have another child. We shouldn’t let fear be the controlling factor on whether we should speak up for what is true. We shouldn’t let fear…you fill what you are fearful of.
I told my wife the other day that Leah’s death shook me in many ways. In one way, it made me realize that we really don’t know how much longer we have on this earth and that I’m sick and tired of playing it safe. I don’t want the grip of fear controlling my life, I want the hand of the Lord controlling my life. What does it look like for Rachel and I as the hand of the Lord guides us through this new season of our life? I really don’t know. What I do know is this, we aren’t going to allow fear to dictate our path. We are going to have the lamp of the Lord Jesus Christ light up our path, one step at a time.
“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. I’ve promised it once, and I’ll promise it again: I will obey your righteous regulations. I have suffered much, O Lord; restore my life again as you promised. Lord, accept my offering of praise, and teach me your regulations. My life constantly hangs in the balance, but I will not stop obeying your instructions. The wicked have set their traps for me, but I will not turn from your commandments. Your laws are my treasure; they are my heart’s delight. I am determined to keep your decrees to the very end.”-Psalm 119:105-112