I would like to welcome Tyler Marie Flatt as a new contributing writer for Joy In Truth. Her love for Christ and his Church infuses her writing, and thus will contribute to building up the Church, the mystical body of Christ. Please click on her name linked to our contributing writers’ page, where you may read more about her. May God bless her ministry of Christian discipleship now and on into the future. — Deacon Frederick Bartels
Jesus is the solution to calming the storm often raging in our hearts.
By Tyler Marie Flatt
21 July 2017
Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” (Mark, 4:38)
In this short verse from the Bible, we learn two very important points: Jesus is God and we must not fear.
First, we see the disciples very afraid, the winds were bad and it appeared as if they were going to perish into the terrifying waters. They were afraid and wanted to escape, they felt great fear. Jesus was sleeping because He was unafraid, He trusted God. Then He gets up and calms the winds and the waters, an act only God can do. This is one of the main events narrated in Mark’s gospel in which the disciples witnessed the extent of the divine power of Jesus Christ. It really is a two-fold learning tool because we see what great power Jesus physically has over the world but it also shows us how much spiritual power He has over us, when we trustingly allow Him to work in our lives.
We all have turbulent times in our life where nothing seems to go right. A storm, if you will, of uncertain waves of persecution and loss. The waters in our life become unsteady, threatening to topple us out of our boat at any moment, consuming every inch of our life. However, if we call upon Jesus and truly believe in Him with our whole hearts, then He will calm the storm within our hearts and lives. If He calms a raging storm for the disciples, then would He not do the same for us?
Then He says to His disciples, “why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” They were in the presence of Jesus Christ, yet they still held such a crippling amount of fear because they thought they were going to die. In our lives, fear causes weakness because we put our trust in the wrong person—ourselves. Fear can be summed up in four words F-orget E-verything A-nd R-un. Forget, what are we forgetting? Jesus.
When we are plagued with a fear so troubling that it affects our abilities to think coherently then we are saying that we aren’t strong enough. Whatever we are afraid of holds a power so strong over us that we lose a little piece of our self. Jesus asked His disciples why they were so afraid, did they not have faith in Him yet. They could have perished in the waters, they could have been swept away and lost their lives; however, they were afraid of the possibility of dying. I’m not saying go out and be an adrenaline junky and skydive or go hug a bear. I am saying that when faced with an outright scary situation we shouldn’t fear the outcome. When it is our time to go home God will call us and we have to be prepared. We have to understand that we live our lives every day as if the Lord is returning.
In Timothy we explore the theme of fear again, “for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). Think of it this way, when we feel fear it causes a complete shutdown. Our mind doesn’t think, we automatically go right to self-preservation. For example, you want to give a presentation on something you are passionate about but the thought of talking in front of all those people stops you from doing it. It’s normal to feel trepidation in a new situation, especially one that puts you completely out of your comfort zone. We shouldn’t let it become something bigger than it actually is, something that determines our actions.
Fear, hate, anger, despair are not from God, as Timothy told us, we are not given a spirit of fear. So where does fear come from? The evil one. Fear is the opposite of good because the presence of fear means the absence of trust. When we fear we don’t place our utmost trust in God, instead relying on ourselves to save us from whatever kind of situation we are in. We run instead of facing, we hide instead of standing up.
Some are afraid to pray in public because they don’t want people to judge them or to make fun of them. They fear the repercussions of thanking God in public, instead opting for a less direct approach. The trust of God is replaced by shame because the fear of being made fun of has outweighed the desire to praise God. Now, let’s say you are at the lake during a hot summer day, relaxing on the shore, and you spot someone drowning. Do you attempt to save the person, at the risk of your life being lost? This is a tough one that many might not be able to answer. If in that situation could you completely place your trust in God to try and rescue that person? This is where the need of trusting in God should outweigh self-preservation because in the end we are judged by our actions or lack thereof. Of course, this is perhaps a far-out-there scenario but it is one to ponder nonetheless.
Next time you are plagued by a crippling fear, imagine yourself on the boat with the disciples and Jesus. Imagine Jesus saying to you, have you no faith? Then work on confronting the fear that is holding you back. It is a process and it may not happen overnight but keep working at it. Prayer is your number one tool for getting over fears—use it! But make sure that you keep your faith while you face your fears and remember that Jesus is ALWAYS with you, even when you feel all alone and fearful. Call on Him! That is what He wants; and find your peace in His love.
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Photo by Xavier Sotomayor on Unsplash
Tyler Marie Flatt holds a BA in Psychology and is currently attending Saint Leo University to attain an MA in Theology. She loves writing and has a personal blog at bringingchristback.com. She owns a Jewelry company called Jewelry for Jesus and uses the funds for the creation of a retreat center called Living Life through the Stations. Lent marked the beginning of her journey towards inspirational speaking. Each Friday during the season of Lent she led the Stations of the Cross as well as explained how people can incorporate them into their life. She has a passion for the Catholic Faith and is a very active member of her parish.