Authored by Dan Roselle
“Help! I’m falling!”
Have you ever woken up from a dream in a cold sweat? You know the kind: you’re falling from a high building, or a vicious animal is chasing you and you can only run in slow motion.
Though I’ve never been one to fear much, I remember a fearful experience I had years ago when I was visiting some friends in Rhode Island. I was staying in the detached guest room of their house. It was January and there was snow on the ground and my room was sparsely heated.
Some time in the middle of the night, I suddenly awoke and sat straight up in bed. My heart was racing, beads of sweat were all over my body. To this day I can’t remember what it was I had dreamt about, but I’ll never forget how afraid I felt as I lay awake trying to go back to sleep.
It was a new feeling for me, not a normal experience at all.
Since I first accepted Jesus into my life at 19, I’ve studied the Bible extensively, and I’ve rarely felt fear. I’ve learned to trust God for just about every aspect of my life. Although that fearful dream many years ago was rare, I’ve found that in the past couple of years, fear has come knocking on the door of my life a lot more often. Perhaps it’s just part of my personal journey to face these fears. Maybe it’s just a test or a spiritual attack. I really don’t know. But one thing
I do know is that fear does not come from Jesus.
When I have to talk about fear, I like to approach it from the positive angle of trust and faith. There’s a game where someone stands behind you and you are supposed to fall backwards as stiff as you can, trusting that that person behind you will catch you before you hit the ground!
Using that example, so often Jesus asks us to trust Him completely for so many things in our lives and we have to “fall,” totally trusting that He will catch us in His very capable arms—and He always does.
I saw a skit once where the teacher—who was playing the role of Jesus—stood behind a student to catch her when she fell. He had already caught her a couple of times when she fell back, so she felt confident that she could once again fall back and be caught. However, to illustrate the amount of trust that Jesus often asks of us, the teacher moved in front of the student and asked her to fall back again. She couldn’t figure out how Jesus was going to catch her if He was standing in front of her, so she just didn’t want to do it. It just didn’t seem possible to her logical way of thinking. The skit was illustrating the point of trusting Jesus even when the circumstances don’t really make sense from our perspective.
Once when Jesus was out in a fishing boat with His disciples, they got caught in a big storm.
You’re probably familiar with the story in Matthew chapter 8 or Mark 4. The wind was blowing fiercely, the waves were crashing against the boat, and the disciples were terrified. If you’ve ever been in a boat on a stormy sea, you know how scary it can be.
Once when on a cruise ship we were unexpectedly caught in the middle of a storm for nearly two days. The sea was rough and the waves caused the huge ship to dip high and then low from the front to the back, and then from side to side. I remember standing on the deck at the back of the ship and watching as the front of the ship dipped. First I’d see the front of the ship point out toward the water, then it would rise and point toward the sky, then it would dip down again and I’d see the water, and then up again to see the sky, over and over again. Many people on the ship were getting sick and it was hard to even walk because it was moving so much. The Italian captain made an announcement asking everyone to “pray to your god” for safety and that the storm would stop. It was an intense experience.
So, back to the Bible story. The disciples were terrified; they thought they might die in that storm. Several of the disciples were experienced fishermen who had probably seen a lot of storms on the sea while fishing, so it must have been an incredibly rough storm for them to be so fearful. You can almost imagine them bailing the water out of their fishing boat, desperately trying to keep it from sinking. It was nighttime and the Bible says that all the while Jesus was sleeping in the back of the boat.
Frantically the disciples woke up Jesus, saying, “Lord, save us! Don’t You care that we might die?” Of course Jesus cared for them, and as we all know, He immediately calmed the storm, and the sea became tranquil once again. But it’s interesting that before Jesus calmed the storm He said to His disciples, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”1 By this time the disciples had already been following Jesus for quite some time and had personally witnessed several amazing miracles, and yet they still lacked faith in Him.
Obviously fear is equated with not having faith. The more faith you have, the less fear it would seem that you’d have. We know that faith comes from studying the Bible and learning about Jesus.2 To the disciples the circumstances were all they could see—the waves, the lightning, the pouring rain, the water in the boat. Perhaps they had to hold on to the mast and the sides of the boat to keep from being washed into the sea. Yet, all it took was for them to call out to Jesus, and immediately He came to the rescue.
Recently that’s what I’ve been finding in my life. The storms of life have definitely been rocking my boat; at times I’ve been fearful that the waves would wash right over me and maybe even sink my ship. There have been times when I couldn’t see any visible means of support or help, or when I had what seemed to me like huge problems and I didn’t know what was going to happen next.
But time and again, when I took time to pray and call out to Jesus for help, He has been right there to comfort me, to show me what to do or at least help me to trust Him that everything would work out all right. He doesn’t always solve all my problems, but He definitely takes away the fear and calms the storms inside me and replaces them with faith and trust.
In 1 John 4:18 it says that there is no fear in love and that perfect love casts out all fear, because fear has torment.3 I sure know that fear has torment; I’ve felt it. When I’m fearful or worrying, it even affects me physically. And when it says that “perfect love casts out all fear,” it’s talking about God’s perfect love for us. All we have to do is believe and accept His love.
I’ve found that by talking to Jesus when I’m afraid, I am reassured of His love for me. When I find myself in times of fear and despair, spending time telling Jesus how I feel, describing my fears to Him and asking Him for help, always soothes me. Even if I don’t get a specific answer to my problem, I have the peace that He knows, He loves, He cares, and that His perfect love really does push aside the fear I am feeling.
Are you experiencing any storms in your life right now? Have things gone awry in your school, in your home life or with your friends or coworkers? Is your ship being tossed about by uncertainty, by difficulties, or unexpected circumstances? Do you feel scared or worried, wondering how you can carry on through such tough times? Well, Jesus is always near, and He isn’t sleeping at all! He’s watching you, He is keeping His eyes on you all the time. He knows what you need and He’s more than willing to help you through the stormy times of life. Take time to ask Him for help. Tell Jesus exactly how you feel. He’ll listen. He’s there for you. Trust Him and let His perfect love chase away all your fears.
1 Matthew 8:26 NIV.
2 Romans 10:17.
3 King James Version.
Read by Stephen Larriva. Music by sindustry(CC). Copyright © 2011 by The Family International