Nelson Mandela once said: "I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." We all want to be brave. None of us desires to be a coward. We don’t want to be the one shaking in the corner, fearing what is to come. We want to be the one that stands tall in the face of adversity. We want to be brave.
But what makes us brave? What makes us able to stand up to the difficulties ahead of us? The disciples were terrified when they were in the middle of the storm. Why couldn’t they be brave? Jesus ultimately makes it a matter of faith. And really, the same could be said of any situation that requires bravery. You don’t act bravely if you fear that there is no way to overcome the obstacles ahead. You are brave when you face those obstacles, having faith that you will get through them. I’m reminded of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when they were threatened with the fiery furnace.
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
They were brave because they had faith. Without faith, these men would have never stood up to the king in this way. They would have only worried for their lives. That’s what the disciples were doing, worrying for their lives. But Jesus told them to be brave, to have faith. I think it’s fair to say that even Jesus experienced fear when he was approaching his arrest. He was not looking forward to the cross, and the pain awaiting him probably had him terrified. But he trusted in the Father’s plan and went through with it. He had faith.
We will all face times in our lives when we experience fear. It says much about us how we respond to that fear. Will we shy away from troubles or face them head on, confident in the one who is right here with us.
…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Mike @ DCC