Matthew 14:30-31 (14 Jun 2020)

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 

In March 2020, a survey[1] was conducted regarding the fears of people in Asia. Out of 3000 respondents in some countries in Southeast Asia, 30% panicked about running out of essentials, ending up making ‘panic purchases’. 34% feared that this pandemic is going to be worse than an economic recession with the risk of people losing jobs. 46% were fearful of falling sick, 60% were afraid of not being prepared enough, thus, they became more proactive about planning financially for the future.

What about you? What are you most fearful about in this season?

Having fears is a common human experience. Fears can sometimes even keep us away from danger. But, fears that cause us to lose faith in God must be dealt with. It is not the fear itself that is the issue, but our response to fear that we need to address.

In Matthew 14:22-33, we see the story of Peter and the disciples in a boat away from Jesus. Jesus comes to them walking on the water, and at first they were afraid because they thought that Jesus was a ghost. Then, Peter boldly asked Jesus to command him to go onto the water to Jesus. Jesus told Peter to come, and Peter walked on water! But, when Peter saw the wind, he was afraid, and started to sink, and Jesus eventually had to save him and bring him back onto the boat.

We see that Peter trusted Jesus and believed with his life that Jesus could enable him to walk on the water. What went wrong was that Peter’s eyes did not stay fixed on Jesus. When he saw the winds and waves all around him, Peter lost focus for a moment, and became struck with fear.

I am sure that many of us can easily name the winds and the waves that are all around us right now – tensions in a small space as we live in close proximity, economic instability, struggles to adjust to working or studying online, boredom, disappointment because of cancelled events, etc.

The question is, how are we keeping our eyes on Jesus and not letting our fears paralyze us? The storms of life will always be here on this side of heaven, even after the pandemic is over. But, if we can focus on Jesus, then we will be filled with the “peace that transcends all understanding (Phil 4:7) and His joy will overflow from within in spite of the circumstances we are in.

How can we keep our eyes on Jesus?

One way is to follow Jesus’ example earlier in the story. In Matthew 14:22-23, Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go before Him. Then, “he went up on the mountain by himself to pray”.

Jesus set aside pockets of time to spend alone with the Father, deepening His relationship with God and recalibrating to remember His ultimate mission and purpose on earth.

We can also take time to strengthen our spiritual muscles by reflecting on our purpose and identity in Christ through His Word and promises. Meditate on God’s truths and internalise them. Then, when the wind and the waves come, our eyes can remain fixed on Him.

Can we set aside time daily to deepen our relationship with our Abba Father this week?

 

Sister Cherlyn Oh

[1] https://www.kantarworldpanel.com/global/News/60-of-Asians-are-worried-for-their-financial-health