On Monday, we started talking about anxiety and how it can eat away at even the most faith-filled of us. It can quickly become a nasty cycle of “fear turns to guilt – guilt turns into an emotional hurricane – hurricane turns into complete irrationality” with extreme velocity, if we aren’t mindful to keep it in check.
One of my favorite things we talked about on Monday that gives me peace, hope, and JOY is our verse of the week: Matthew 14:32: “After Peter and Jesus were in the boat, the wind stopped.”
The winds had been wildly whipping the disciples and their boat around. The waves were even too high for Peter – the rock of the church – to continue walking on without fear. So what did Jesus do? He took Peter by the hand and got in the boat with His chosen friends!
Oh sweet things, hear this: HE GOT IN THE BOAT. He didn’t have to because He is Jesus and He could’ve continued walking those waves if He wanted to! But He didn’t. He CHOSE to be with His friends and to calm their nerves.
And do you want to know something even more reassuring?! There are actually OTHER accounts of similar storms throughout the Gospels…and Jesus reacts just the same!
Basically, every time, He gets in the boat. He lays His head down. He goes to sleep. He trusts God. And God does not disappoint. The storms are calmed and peace reigns.
And He did all that so we would -YES, EVEN TODAY – ask Him into our boats in those moments when we are too scared to get out and walk to Him.
Many people simply focus on the miracle of water walking. Trust me. It’s a miracle – I’m no dumby! I see that. But He, sweet Jesus, cared so much about His disciples that he CHOSE to be in the storm with them. For me, that’s the bigger miracle, the greater gift.
His LOVE for us is so huge that He takes the bullet of anxiety for us. He’s telling us, “I got this. I mean – I REALLY GOT THIS. I’m not surprised by this. I’m not worried about this. Trust me. You can; you honestly can. Walk with me and I promise we will be victorious.”
And if we do, if we HONESTLY trust Him, just like that, the enemy loses and Jesus wins.
People sometimes ask me why I write a blog. I have several reasons, of course. But one of the biggest reasons is that I feel a call on my heart from God to be the encouragement that I often find myself needing from others; to be an audible level of volume for His voice in a time and place such as this (Esther 4:14), when many people turn to social media and technology for comfort because they are too scared to tell people how they really feel. I want them to know they aren’t alone and that God has a plan for even “this”!
We have a collective knot of anxiety in our stomachs that has a million different reasons for its ugly little existence. Today, let us consider it Pure Joy (James 1 – remember that from last week??!!) that we have a Person to whom we can turn to ask for His loving fingers to loosen the bind of anxiety on our souls.
A Person who encourages us to share in and celebrate His victory over anxiety, temptation, sin, and death.
A Person who would (and DID) do anything it takes to deliver us from living eternity apart from Him.
We have Jesus.
So. I’m going to write out this new Safety Information Card for myself to practice BEFORE my storms begin. This will be one I can read in the car (not while driving, of course!), on a plane, a train, walking along the sidewalk, facing a storm head-on, before I even face the day, or even when I get in bed.
There will be the following directives on it:
In case of emergency, ASK Jesus into your boat. (Matthew 14:32)
In case of emergency, BELIEVE this: “God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’” Hebrews 13:5-6
In case of emergency, SAY this: “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
In case of emergency, PRACTICE this: “Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30
In case of emergency, KNOW this: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” Jeremiah 29:11
And finally, in case of emergency, REMEMBER this: “Be still and KNOW that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
Love you so much, my friends. Praying for an anxiety free weekend and WEEK for everyone! I’m off on vacation until Monday, August 12th. (I know – you’re grateful for the break from me – hee hee!) I’ll be back then with a preview of our LAST Pure Joy Summer Series Dinner being held August 13th! (AND we’re announcing our Fall series that night – sooooooo excited!) You won’t want to miss it!
Until then, I encourage you to make your OWN “safety info” card! You can even feel free to steal mine, if you want to! Practice it now and practice it often so that it becomes second nature to you. That you, you can confidently rely on whenever you need it.
Peace, love, and JOY!