Does fear paralyze you?

Read: Mark 4:35-41

Reflect:  I pulled the covers over our girls. We said our prayers. And I turned on the bright blue Christmas lights the two-year-old insists on having strung by her bed. As I glanced down, a broken light bulb caught my eye. The jagged remains of the bottom half of the bulb were sharp. A few possibilities of what happened played across my mind as I threw out a casual “Hey girls, anyone know how this lightbulb broke?” What I didn’t expect were the instant body wracking sobs coming from the five-year old’s bed. Through tears she managed to tell a story of how (just that afternoon) she had bitten the lightbulb not realizing it would break and found shards of plastic in her mouth. She swallowed some and hid the rest under a blanket and spent the whole day feeling horrible inside. The words “I’m so sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” came pouring out of her mouth on repeat.  My heart broke as she talked about how afraid she had been. Afraid of telling us. Afraid of having to go to the hospital. Afraid. Her tears continued until her Daddy climbed into bed beside her, held her, and she drifted off to sleep.

Fear can do that to us, can’t it? It can paralyze us. It can terrify us. It can make us feel horrible inside as we dwell on it. In Mark 4 we have front row seats to the very palpable fear of the disciples. The disciples and Jesus are on a boat in the Sea of Galilee when a storm arises. While these men are seasoned fishermen and highly likely to be used to sudden storms, this storm brings even them to a state of alarm. It is described as a furious squall with waves swamping over the boat until the boat itself is nearly sinking. I can imagine the fear and the panic as they attempt to hold on for their lives and not be washed overboard.

So, what did they do? They called out to Jesus. He first eliminated their physical source of fear. “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’” (v. 39) Then He turned to His disciples with the simple question of “Why are you so afraid?” Jesus knew what terrified them – the storm. His question points to their hearts. Why were the disciples afraid? Jesus was near. Don’t we so often need reminded of this exact same thing? Just as Jesus reminded the disciples and we reminded our sobbing five-year-old – we need to bring our fears to the One in control.

The disciples fear turned from fear of the storm to a fear of the Lord – can’t you imagine their relief as the winds diminished and the waves stilled. The genuine deep breath they took as they realized their lives were no longer at risk. All they had to do was go to their Father with their terror and He immediately (and quite literally) calmed that fear.

Apply: One of my favorite podcasts (Risen Motherhood) is recording a series on fear right now. Let their words be our challenge as we go forth this week and look to calm our fears by placing them in the Father’s hands. “What’s your first instinct when you’re afraid? Is it anger? Do you run and hide? Do you try to find a way to control the outcome? The Bible gives us another way: He wants us to come to Him when we’re afraid. He’s the calm in our storm. He’s the peace that we need. And He’s ready and willing to give us that peace in abundance. So, come to Him today. Make your requests known. He can handle them.”

Let us take our fears and present them before our Father. Let us run to Jesus as the disciples did. Let Him hold our fears, calm our hearts and hold us tight. 

Authored by Britt Snyder

Britt is a lover of Jesus and wife to Greg. Her days are filled loving on and chasing around their three little ones: Lynette, Audrey and Wade. As a former elementary school teacher and now stay at home mama she enjoys serving as a kindergarten homeschool co-op teacher and leader at GCC's Mornings for Moms ministry. Coffee and books fill the moments where all three kids are miraculously sleeping at the same time.