Put Fear In Its Place

In his commentary on Matthew 14:24, Matthew Henry states the following: In life the wind is often contrary. There are times when we are up against it and life is a desperate struggle with ourselves, with our circumstances, with our temptations, with our sorrows, with our decisions. At such time no man need struggle alone, for Jesus comes to him across the storms of life, with hand outstretched to save and with His calm clear voice bidding us take heart and have no fear. Here is the setting: Jesus had spent the day teaching, in fact it was on this same day that He had multiplied the fish and loaves to feed 5,000, as evening approached, Jesus sent the disciples ahead by boat to the other side of the lake and dismissed the crowd. Jesus spent the night alone in prayer. In the very early hours of the morning, while it was still dark, a storm ensued on the disciples and their vessel. They were struggling feverishly against the wind and the waves and Jesus came walking toward them on the water. Obviously, this was not a common occurrence, it wasn’t in their day as it isn’t in ours. After calming their fears, Jesus responds to Peter’s request to join Him on the water. 
 
If you’ve read this section of scripture, you know Peter takes a few steps toward Jesus, but begins to look at the wind and the waves and as he does, he sinks. Peter knew how to swim, we know this from John chapter 21 verses seven and eight. Here we are told that Peter jumped into the water to swim to shore on one of the occasions in which Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection. It wasn’t that Peter couldn’t swim, rather it was Peter’s assessment of his situation. He recognized the wind and the boisterous waves to be more than he had the strength to prevail against. His fear took over.
 
Isn’t that what commonly sinks each of us? Fear? The fear of going under during a life storm that is greater than our ability to manage can cause panic to take over.
 

The emotion of fear is fueled by the unknown, by the ‘what ifs’, by the events that are out of our control. However, the positive side of fear is that it motivates us to work toward an end. Fear in an appropriate measure can fuel our work ethic and help us to make wiser decisions. If we never suffer consequences, we may never learn from our poor choices and face the potential to waste years  repeating our own personal history. So yes, fear has a place. The difference is the place we allow fear to occupy and the way that we respond to it.

We can learn from Peter: don’t take our eyes off of Jesus and put them on our current circumstance. Keep our eyes fixed on Him. Notice when Peter started sinking, he cried out immediately. “Lord, save me!” Jesus stretched out His hand and rescued Peter. Again Peter teaches us: we must ask for help. Don’t try to fight the storm apart from Him. Call out to Jesus. Reach out to Him. 
 
Let your fear motivate you to learn. Let your fear motivate you to assess your situation and take the necessary steps to prevent a constant repeat of your mistakes. Let your fear move you to reach out to Jesus. Let this be the place you allow fear to occupy.