Suwannee Democrat

Religion columns

March 9, 2012

Freedom is Here: “It is I; Don’t Be Afraid!”

Live Oak — One night the disciples of Jesus were trying to row their boat across the lake, but a storm came from nowhere, and they thought they were going to drown. Wind, rain, waves and lightening were all coming against people who were just trying to obey Jesus! He was the one who told them to go to the other side. Remember, just because you’re going through it, doesn’t mean you’re not in the will of God. It often means the opposite.

These men just thought they were afraid of the weather. Suddenly, they saw something that turned the roar of the storm into background noise. The glowing figure of a man seemed to be gliding on the water toward them! They thought it was a ghost. Maybe a spirit was coming to pull them down to the bottom of the lake.

But it was Jesus!

John 6:20b “It is I; don’t be afraid.”

Notice what Jesus doesn't say: Jesus doesn’t say, “I have the latest NOAA weather report, so don’t be afraid!” He doesn’t say, “There’s a shallow spot right over here, so don’t be afraid!” “You're almost to the other side, so don’t be afraid!”

That's What people will do. They will try to minimize the storm. Maybe they’ll ignore the storm: "Every cloud has a silver lining!" “The sun will come out tomorrow!” “It’s always darkest just before you drown... I mean just before the dawn!” We've all been conveyers of cold comfort. Fortunately, that’s not how God encourages.

God doesn't minimize the storm. God maximizes Himself!

He doesn't say,

“It's not as bad as you thought so don't be afraid!”

“It looks like it's clearing up, so don't be afraid!”

“You're almost to the other side, so don't be afraid!”

Jesus says, “It is I - all the reason you need to not be afraid.”

“The storm is bad, but it is I! So don’t be afraid!”

“You're not getting any closer to land, but it is I! So don’t be afraid!”

“The water is coming over into the boat but it is I! So don’t be afraid!”

He is bigger than your storm, greater than any distance and he can keep the most hopeless situation not only floating, but sailing!

Don't try to minimize your storm. Maximize your God!

Pastor John Whittington

Lighthouse Christian Center

Mayo, FL

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