I hope that I’m wrong. Yet there’s something in my spirit that feels like a storm is coming. Our nation is so divided. Even “church people” are divided. As COVID-19 cases seem to be increasing, so is the polarization and anger.
In Matthew 16, the religious leaders asked Jesus for a sign from heaven. He told them that they were good at predicting the weather, but not the actual signs of the times.
Matthew 16:2-3 (NLT)
He replied, “You know the saying, ‘Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow; red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.’ You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the signs of the times!
The signs of the times are all around us. Just check the headlines or your social media feed. There’s a storm coming.
Earlier today, I read from Mark 4 where Jesus and the disciples are in a boat. Jesus is taking a nap, and a big storm developed. The disciples woke Jesus up with this optimistic outlook. “Don’t you care that we are about to die!”
Sound familiar? If not, let me say again, check the headlines or your social media feed.
In Mark 3, before this storm, Jesus had given the disciples He chose authority to cast out demons. In the first part of Mark 4, Jesus gives these chosen disciples inside secrets about the Kingdom of God.
And the plan to get in the boat and cross the lake? That was Jesus’ idea.
Yet in a moment of crisis, the disciples seemed to forget all that. It’s a storm! “Don’t you care that we are about to die!”
As Jesus followers, we shouldn’t be surprised by the storms of this present world. Jesus predicted things were going to get bad. In fact, His predictions make 2020 and 2021 so far sound like Disneyland.
The disciples thought the storm was the problem. Jesus rebuked the storm and the wind stopped. It was calm. They didn’t die. What Jesus said to them after the calm, we certainly need to hear today.
Mark 4:40 (NLT)
Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
The wind and waves weren’t the problem. They didn’t need a bigger boat or better travel plans. Jesus didn’t say, “Why don’t you have life jackets on?” He pointed out the real problem.
Fear is the real storm.
The wind, waves, and chaos of our present time are not the problem. The division, anger, confusion, and hatred aren’t because of a virus or politics. Fear is the problem.
“Do you still have no faith?” Faith is the only antidote to fear. Yet it’s not random faith, or faith in earthly things that matter. Is our faith really in Jesus? Fear says no.
Anger, judgment, division, confusion and finger-pointing all have the same root. Fear is the real storm.
I’m going to mention some things here that will likely offend one side or the other – or maybe all sides. That’s not the goal. My hope is to simply point out that the wind and waves aren’t our problem when Jesus is in the boat.
If you have Jesus, there’s no reason to fear.
We don’t have to fear the government. Do you think it’s bad now? Do some research on the Roman Empire in the times of the New Testament. Fear says, these circumstances are trying to control us! Faith says, God is in control.
Psalms 27:1-3 (NET)
The LORD delivers and vindicates me! I fear no one! The LORD protects my life! I am afraid of no one!
When evil men attack me to devour my flesh, when my adversaries and enemies attack me, they stumble and fall.
Even when an army is deployed against me, I do not fear. Even when war is imminent, I remain confident.
But they are trying to take away our rights! They are all trying to kill us! Don’t you care that we are going to die? Wind and waves. “Do you still have no faith?”
No matter what your opinion is on today’s hot button issues – we have no reason to fear:
- A virus.
- A vaccine.
- A mask.
- Our enemies.
We all have opinions. Most are borrowed from others pointing out the wind and waves. What does Jesus say? Are you in the boat because you are following His words? There is nothing to fear.
We don’t have to all agree about everything. We also don’t have to be afraid of one another. I can’t find one scripture that says, “Fear one another!”
Instead, we are called to love one another. Period.
1 John 4:18-19 (NET)
There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears punishment has not been perfected in love. We love because he loved us first.
Love and fear cannot coexist. One cancels out the other. Fear is selfish and prideful. Love puts others first.
As Jesus followers, our response to the wind and waves must be like Jesus. He calmed the storm. How do we do that?
Faith, not fear. Love, not hate. Peace, not division.
Let’s get our eyes off the fake storm and deal with the real storm that’s brewing.
Perfect love drives out fear.
Before you post, before you point a finger, before you freak out about the wind and the waves – ask these questions.
What does love require of me? How can I best love my neighbor?
And most importantly, is my response really obeying the commands of Jesus?
Or am I just reacting in fear…