FEAR vs. PEACE
From Max Lucado’s book, “Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear” — Before the flight I’m a midlife version of Tom Cruise in Top Gun: wearing an Air Force helmet, a flight suit, and a smile the size of a watermelon slice. After the flight Top Gun is undone. I’m as pale as bleached bone. I list to the side, and my big smile has flattened as straight as the tarmac on which we just landed. Chalk the change up to sixty minutes of acrobatics at ten thousand feet. I occupied the cockpit seat directly behind Lt. Col. Tom McClain. One month shy of retirement he invited me to join him on an orientation flight. The invitation came complete with:
a preflight physical (in which I was measured for the ejection seat).
a safety briefing (in which I practiced pulling the handle for the ejection seat).
a few moments hanging in the harness of a training parachute (simulating how I would return to earth after any activation of the ejection seat).
Message to Air Force public relations: any way to scale down the ejection-seat discussion?
Like a flight in a jet fighter, sometimes, life can be unpredictable. Except we don’t have ejection seats. We can’t escape when things fall apart, or ideas get shot down. Wealth disappears, jobs end, relationships fail, and good health isn’t guaranteed.
However, the good news is we can experience inner Peace that is not dependent upon what is going on all around us. We can experience a calmness that is not understood by those around us who do not have the Peace of Christ in their lives.
Regardless of your situation, any believer can find Faith and the inner Peace that Jesus has promised. Let’s look at John 14:25-27 – “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Jesus spoke to us about His Peace that is given to us, whether we incorporate it into our lives or not, it is there. His Peace has the power to overcome Fear in our lives, but we have to accept it, receive it and we have to use it.
Max Lucado was putting his faith, for a short period of time, in the pilot of the plane he was riding in. The pilot’s call sign, or nickname, was T-Mac and was stenciled across the back of his flight helmet just above his collar. As they flew Max found he could not look anywhere other than at the back of the pilot’s helmet. The horizon kept bouncing around, the instrument panel kept bouncing around, and anywhere else he looked added to his increasing nausea. So, he stared at the call sign of his pilot and thought about it. He finally came up with the acronym: Tell Me About Christ.
Max was realizing, very clearly, how Peter must have felt when he found himself in a very unfamiliar circumstance. Much like Jesus’ Disciples in a boat one time. Matthew 14:25-33 – During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” He said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” He said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
As I know you have been informed, Peter’s problem was taking his eyes off Jesus. He was immediately in trouble, just as Max was when he took his eyes off the pilot’s callsign on the back of the pilot’s helmet.
One of my favorite songs is “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” which has a line in it: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” All Peter had to do was keep his eyes upon Jesus. In the midst of walking on the water, Peter could have found Peace by just Keeping his eyes Upon Jesus. But, don’t we all do that, do we? When we lose sight of the One Who is our Safety, our Rock, our Refuge fear sneaks in. We lose our focus, our target.
Jesus and Paul have both told us that all Peace, true Peace comes from living in a Relationship with Jesus Christ. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 (NLT)
Bostwick UMC 7/12/20
 Lucado, Max. Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear (pp. 67-68). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.