Today’s Scripture: Matthew 14:22-27
22 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. 23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.
24 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. 25 About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”
27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”
Lessons From The Pond
The fish that live in the pond in the church’s courtyard have given me a complex. When I walk up to the pond, they are usually swimming in the middle of it. However, just as soon as I get near, they skedaddle to under the waterfall – away from my presence.
Sometimes one of them doesn’t notice me and stays out swimming – until my shadow crosses its path. Then, like a bullet, it dashes to the safety of the waterfall. Some of the fish never even leave that safe place.
The fish don’t know that I’m safe too. They see a sense a large shadow from above and their innate protection scheme kicks into gear. “I just want to look at you” I say. But they still swim away scared.
Fear is like this. It’s built deep into our brains. In fact, scientists have discovered that fear does not begin in our frontal cortex – where we reason. Instead, it starts in our amygdala – with fight or flight. Something gets triggered in us and we immediately react with fear.
Of course, fear itself is not bad. It keeps us alive. The problem comes when our frontal cortex does not dial the fear back. We get stuck in a loop of worry and anxiety which can lead us to being in a state of low-level fear just about all the time. It can feel like we are always living under the waterfall and never enjoying swimming.
I believe fear is one of the most dangerous issues facing believers. Jesus spoke A LOT about fear. The Psalmist wrote about it. It seems like God is saying to us that if we get trapped in fear, we are not experiencing the life God wants for us. Fear pushes us under the waterfall, but God wants us out enjoying the pond.
Thank you God for using nature to remind us of truths about you and about life. Help us to recognize fear in our lives today and to turn that fear over to you.