Fear is Destructive, Faith is Empowering

Fear is a powerful human reaction which perceives evil either physically or psychologically and harmful to my person. No one is exempt from fear. In the Gospel reading we are told the disciples were quite fearful of their lives after a violent squall erupted, causing the boat to take on water. The disciples evaluating their predicament, turned to the back of the boat where Jesus was sleeping.  They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

When Jesus awoke, he “rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet!  Be still!” And it was still. Then he turned to his disciples and said, ““Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”


Easier said than done, right?  We all have faith in God, we believe we have been blessed by his influence in our lives, and even think we are punished sometimes by the bad thing we may have done. Even some bad things happening to us doesn’t shake our faith, we still believe, if it is within reason.

What we haven’t done well though, is to integrate our faith so deeply in our life that is becomes a counterbalance to those moments when fear strikes.  When real fear strikes and there is a lot at stake. A fragile balance between being realistic with our circumstances and having the faith Jesus has not abandoned us and has the power to quiet the storm in our life.  

The tenuous balance begins when we become fearful. It might be a bad diagnosis, a real bad diagnosis. It might be losing the way we support ourselves and families.  Still, it could be the fear of a child heading in the wrong direction, our ourselves falling into a depressive state. Death itself. The realism of these conditions is impossible to ignore.

For the faithful, the first spiritual reaction is to fall on our knees and pray. Most often, the prayers lifting to heaven are in the form of the eradication of the problem at hand. Sometimes God grants our wishes, sometimes he doesn’t seem to hear our prayer. If he immediately answers our prayers, then our faith is strengthened and we shout, “Glory to God in the Highest”.

What happens when our prayers are not answered immediately? Is our faith strengthened? Is the faith lost? The crux of the Gospel message lies in answering these three questions.

It is easy to see how someone could lose their faith because the faith is weak and dependent upon a contract. If I do my part and pray, then God has to fulfill his part of the bargain and give me what I prayed for, healing, finding a job, etc.  When he doesn’t give me what I want, the only conclusion is he broke the deal, and therefore, to continue to pray is fruitless. So why continue believing?

How the Faith is Strengthened in Fear

Having faith does not mean we are or never will be fearful. Faith is meant to be an antidote to all human situations in human life, for that is not its role.  Its true role is to be the vehicle in which a person enters into a relationship with Jesus. The relationship with Jesus begins the cascade of good which counterbalances human fear. With a strengthening faith, fear takes a hit because it no longer is experienced and lived only by just the person, Jesus is with us and we take on the circumstance together. Fear no longer is secretly my burden but shared by Jesus himself.

When it is understood fear is combatted with Jesus’ help, a multitude of other helpers can offer to take on the fear as well, and assist in ways we would have never anticipated. Just think of all the good done for you by others if you are were seriously ill, or unemployed. Their help is priceless because it mimics the care Jesus gives us daily.

If we are courageous enough to be transparent about some of our fears, you will be surprised how many good people will step up and assist you. Those good people stand single filed behind Jesus. The ‘Army of God,’ working together, strengthening your faith, and leveling a blow to your fear.  Why are you so terrified?  

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