Scared Straight

Do you remember the last time your heart raced in panic and fear? Too often fear grips and controls us. Too often fear colors our faith into dark shadows of gray.


In recent days fear and panic have stuck the power centers of the Western world. As the stock market swooned, and politicians in Washington circled their wagons, the American people waited wondering what in the world was going on. Some in the media sounded like the childhood character “Chicken Little” crying “the sky is falling, the sky is falling.”


As the national election nears, you hear reports of the party faithful wringing their hands in terror that their hero will not be elected, and that chaos will grip the land if the people make the wrong choice. Many fear we stand firmly on “sinking sand” and soon all hope will be lost.


Even the followers of Jesus are not immune to fear and panic. One fateful night the disciples found themselves caught up in a raging storm, while Jesus slept soundly in the stern of the ship. In their panic, they woke him up pleading, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” Too often the storm colors our view of Jesus.


Startled from sleep, Jesus stands and speaks directly to the wind and waves saying, “Quiet! Be Still!”As quickly as the tempest arose the raging sea turned to a sea of glass. In the quietness of the moment, Jesus had a rebuttal question, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Let’s face it who in their right mind would be afraid when Jesus sleeps aboard their boat?


I was intrigued by Mark’s account of what followed. He wrote:


41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mark 4:41 (NIV)


Now the disciples had a “new fear”—the fear of God in the boat. No longer would Jesus fit into their “box” as a great teacher and humanitarian. Jesus never does quite fit into our boxes.


C.S. Lewis spoke of this “untamed God” in his children’s story The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. As the children prepared to meet the King who turned out to be Aslan, the lion instead of a man, Lewis painted an insightful picture of Jesus, the Lion of Judah. He wrote:


“Ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is he–quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver, “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”


Jesus is far from safe just take that conversation up with Satan sometime. No, Jesus is not safe—but He is good! Sometimes in the storms of life we discover we have nothing to fear when Jesus is in the boat.


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