Luke 8 tells us the account of Jesus falling asleep in a boat as his disciples sailed across the Sea of Galilee. A storm came up and the boat was in danger of being swamped by water. As the disciples looked at the waves, fear and anxiety climbed and their ability to see truth decreased. Panicked, the disciples woke Jesus up declaring they were on the verge of drowning. Jesus did an assessment and calmly rebuked the storm. He then asked the disciples, “Where is your faith?”
I don’t think he was chastising them for having worry and fear, because those are human traits we all share. I believe he was calling attention to the same fearful response we all utilize--relying on our own resources. These guys had been fishermen all their lives. They’d been through countless storms on this body of water. The wind, rain, and waves must have been extremely outrageous for these strong, capable men to fear for their lives and ask for help.
Faith is about a person. The disciples tried to handle the difficult circumstances in their own strength, only calling on Jesus once they came to the end of their human abilities to deal with the circumstances. God doesn’t always promise to immediately rebuke the anxiety storms in our life, but he does promise to give us strength and truth when we bring him into the situation.
I believe we’re created to reach out to God and other safe people to give us truth to use as an anchor in the midst of our anxiety storms. We see Peter’s growth in understanding Jesus’ message when he later walked on water towards Jesus. This time his initial response to an anxiety-producing event was to move forward toward Jesus, only sinking when he focused on his fear.
Holding onto truth when emotions are on high alert is hugely daunting. When panic sets in, we automatically equate feeling with truth, believing “If I feel this much fear about something, then my worry must be true. If my worry is true, then I absolutely, must, always do whatever relieves the anxiety.” Truth cannot enter into this equation. When we separate truth from God’s heart, we do not have the courage and emotional energy to withstand the anxiety storm.
Practice moving toward God in the middle of your anxiety storms. By an act of your will, declare your faith in his heart for you and trust in his ability to bring you through the storm.