The Antidote Against Fear

Matthew 14: 22-36
Num 11:4b-15 / Psa 81

“You of little faith,” He said, “why did you doubt?”
(Matthew 14:31)

When storms in our life bring us fear,
And we should doubt if God is near,
It’s when we hear His voice so clear:
‘Have faith, my child, your Savior’s here.’

Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and precede Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowds. After dismissing them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. When it was evening, He was there alone. Meanwhile the boat, already a considerable distance from land, was buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw Him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Peter said to Him in reply, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” He said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to Him and begged Him to let the sick just touch the edge of His cloak, and all who touched it were healed. (Matthew 14:22-36)

Reflection

When Jesus received the news about the death of His cousin, John the Baptist, He withdrew by boat to a deserted place to grieve. But the multitudes followed Him, and when He saw their needs, He felt pity for them, and setting aside His grief, healed all the sick (Mt.14:15), and even fed more than five thousand from five loaves and two fish (Mt.14:19-20). When it was evening, He sent His apostles off to the other side of the lake so that He could go up to the mountainside to pray. He needed to draw strength from the Father after a grueling day.

Prayer invigorates more than food or rest, as we see our Lord Jesus, after spending time with the Father in prayer, setting out again into the raging waters of the lake on foot to save His apostles in distress. For a while they thought they were seeing a ghost, but when Jesus assured them it was He, Peter’s faith was stirred into action, and wanting to test it, asked “to come to (Jesus) in the water.” Jesus told him, “Come”, but the winds proved to be stronger than his faith, and he began to sink. We could say Peter’s faith then was still “half-baked”, because he still doubted, even though Jesus was but a short distance away.

Doubt erodes our faith, but prayer fortifies it. The longer we spend time in prayer the more effective our faith is against doubt and fear. Prayer gives us the assurance that we have the strength to overcome anything through Jesus Who empowers us (Phil.4:13). Prayer works for those who firmly believe and submit to God’s will. Submitting to His will means trusting that whatever comes is according to His love and divine purpose. Whatever situation we are in only becomes difficult when doubts overcome our trust in Jesus. As long as we hold fast to a strong trust in God, no harm can befall us; the storm will eventually pass. And when we reach calm waters, we will realize that we have become stronger because of it.

Dear God, without You on board, the boat of our life is tossed and turned by the waves of strifes and anxieties. May Your comforting presence bring peace and calm to the storms in our life. Let no fear or doubt overcome us when we step out of our comfort zone to face life’s trials and difficulties. Instead, steel our faith with courage, enthusiasm, and the commitment to be true to our calling as Your protected children in all circumstances. Amen.

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