June 29, 2020
To be preached 7/5/2020
MORE THAN YOU FEAR THE FUTURE
Fear is all around us. Terrorism, foreclosures, bankruptcy, layoffs, furloughs, overdue bills, sickness and even death. That brief list of problems that some fear was written before Coronavirus. Now we are actually living in the latest world pandemic. Even with that list of problems some people can’t find enough to worry about, so they look to make things up. But, our God does not want us to live in fear and worry. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:6-8) (842) To the contrary, He wants us to have Peace and Joy in our lives.
Fear and Faith cannot occupy the same space in the heart. Did you catch that? Fear and Faith cannot occupy the same space in the heart. Max Lucado has said, “What if Faith, not fear, was your default reaction to threats?” As in our computers and phones, what if Faith not fear was your default setting? What if Faith in Christ was your first thought when troubled reared its ugly head?
Look at today’s Scripture – Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, 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) (686)
Did the Disciples turn to Jesus out of Faith… or fear? Let’s look at the Scripture again and see if we can tell. The first thing the Disciples did when the storm arose was to wake Jesus and say, “We are going to drown!” Several of them were seasoned fishermen. I would think that in their experience they would have been caught in storms at sea. But, there’s no indication that the fishermen tried to calm the others down. It seems like the common cry from everyone was, “We are going to drown! We are going to drown!” But, why wake Jesus? He’s a carpenter, not a fisherman, what do carpenters know about sailing in storms?
Of course, we have the advantage of hindsight. We know He was more than a carpenter. We know He is the Son of God, the Creator of the Universe. We know everything is under His control, and so we never worry about anything, do we?
But, the Disciples just did not get it. They just did not believe enough, did they? Or did they? Obviously, Jesus knew the truth and the condition of their hearts. He said, “You of little faith.” We need to be careful here, because this is one of those places where we can become very judgmental, too judgmental. It’s something like the situations with “Peter the Denier” and “Thomas the Doubter.” Let’s not be too quick to judge. How would you have responded? Would you have responded with Faith or fear? What is your default setting… Faith or fear? In which direction do you automatically lean? That’s really the question for today, for this time, isn’t it?
In the Hymn Be Still My Soul, I love the words in the second verse that say, “Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know the Christ Who ruled them while He dwelt below.” Imagine that, Jesus calming the storm that found its beginnings in His words at creation. Of course, He could calm it, He created it! He created the wind and the water.
But, the Disciples had not yet grasped the completeness of just who Jesus was. Have you? They didn’t quite understand how a man, a carpenter from Nazareth, could stand in a swamping boat and quiet the wind and the waves. They just didn’t yet completely understand Who Jesus was, the Creator, the Messiah, The Almighty.
We have storms in our lives, they seem like they are almost constant, don’t they? How do we pay the electric bill this month? How much longer will that old car keep running? Why are those kids at school so hateful to our children? And now, where can I safely go, do I need a mask? It seems like storms of all kinds just keep cropping up all around us, all the time. But we know the Storm Stiller, our Rock, our Salvation, our Creator. We know where to find the Peace and Faith – Jesus Christ our Lord.
Bostwick UMC 7/5/2020