But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here” (Matthew 14:27 NLT).
Friend to Friend
During a Monday morning planning meeting, I was given two choices: pet a tarantula or jump out of an airplane. I picked jumping out of an airplane because I am that afraid of spiders! Which one would you choose?
The next morning, I drove across my home state with two co-workers to go skydiving. As I passed the highway exit near my hometown, I considered giving my parents a call. However, wisdom, or maybe self-preservation, prevailed. I figured that if I didn’t die skydiving, my mother would surely kill me to keep me from jumping out of the plane.
After I arrived, the training staff taught us the basics of how to jump and how parachutes worked. I appreciated the information; however, thousands of nervous butterflies were skydiving in my stomach. It was knowing that my experienced jump instructor would be present and tethered to me during the jump that made the difference with my anxiety.
In Matthew 14:27, Jesus reminds the disciples of His presence in perilous circumstances. Shortly after feeding 5,000 men and their families, Jesus sent the disciples across the lake to wait for Him. Even though the disciples knew how to manage the boat, that didn’t take away their fear when a fierce storm blew across the lake. The disciples were in trouble and in Mark’s account, he wrote that the disciples were rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves (Mark 6:48).
Are you “rowing hard and struggling” in one of life’s storms? It’s easy to panic when you’re doing all that you can and you still fear that all will be lost. Perhaps you’re facing a parenting challenge and no matter what you’ve learned from the therapists or books, you’re still pacing the floor at night. Maybe you’ve been diagnosed with a life-changing illness and while you’ve got treatment plans and expert care, the waves of grief and uncertainty pummel you day and night. Not only do you feel the fear, but it’s exhausting, isn’t it?
Jesus speaks eight, powerful and practical words to the disciples that apply to you today, no matter what you’re facing: “Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I am here.”
Notice how Jesus didn’t tell them to steer the boat differently. Furthermore, He didn’t criticize them for being afraid. In their panic, Jesus knew that the only effective measure was to show up with his calming presence. Jesus called the disciples to take their eyes off the storm and focus on Him and experience His peace in the midst of the storm. An interesting note, as the story continued to unfold, Jesus invites Peter to walk on water and yet, the strong winds and waves continue. Yet, in Jesus’ presence, Peter had the courage to step out and walk on water in the midst of the storm.
Today, you can be encouraged! Jesus’ presence is always near, so you can live in bold courage rather than fear. Even as the circumstances of your life whip and whirl around you, courageously do whatever God has called you to do. He is right with you!
When the tiny crop plane reached 10,000 feet over the jump point, my instructor tethered his jumpsuit to mine and opened the door. The loud rush of cold wind filled my ears, but I heard his voice in the wind: “I’m right here.” Even though we would free-fall at 120 mph back toward earth, I felt the intensity of the fall, but never the fear because my instructor was near.
What are those waves named in your life? Imagine yourself sitting in a boat and picture Jesus walking toward you saying, “Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I am here.” Even if you can’t see Him in your difficult moment, He is near to you today.
God, I am grateful that I can face the storms of life with peace and courage because Your presence is always with me. Whisper Jesus’ words to my heart and soul today whenever I focus too much on the waves of fear, uncertainty or stressful circumstances. Thank You that I am never alone!
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What are the struggles in your life that are wearing you out?
As you picture Jesus saying Today’s Truth to you, what else do you think that He’s saying to encourage you in your circumstances?
More from the Girlfriends
Have you ever tried to fight worry with faith and felt you were losing the battle? Check out Barb’s Bible study, Joshua: Winning the Worry Battle. In this six-week study on the book of Joshua, you’ll learn how to fight in faith and scripture-based new tools to overcome your daily struggles and the bigger battles of fear that we all face! (Leaders’ guide and teaching DVD available separately)
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My kiddo has been sick for a couple weeks and since then I have been so scared. He’s getting better, but it’s been very scary since it was a month after he had Covid. I have never been so afraid, but the only saving grace is that I have felt God’s presence as I have turned back to HIm. I put an ink dot on the center of my palm to remind me that it is HIM who is carrying me and my son through this storm. Pray that I continue to feel HIS presence and that my son is healed.
Hi Beth, I’m so glad that you little one is finally getting better after a long road of illness for him. What a great idea to put that little dot to remember that we truly are held in the palm of God’s hand at all times. Brilliant! Thank you for sharing your story with us today.
Just an FYI, I went sky diving 3 years ago at the age of 77 and LOVED it. If I were younger I would take the courses to be able to do it alone. God bless
Go Jo! I love it – and I hope that other ladies see that you’ve said yes to that adventure and do it, too!
Bless you Barb, for this writing.
I’m one of the many that deal with anxiety on a regular basis.
One of my affirmations is Joshua 1:9 and Psalm 56:3 ( FAITH: Forever, Always, I, Trust, HIM) Now, this verse will be part of my trio of scripture!
Thank you again, for reminding us of this important picture of FAITH!
That’s fabulous FAITH acronym, Carol Thank you for sharing that with us! Blessings to you!
This word of encouragement was timely. God’s timing is his kindness toward us. Thank you for reminding me to Focus on him regardless of all of the chaos around me. He will Never leave me Nor forsake me. That I do Trust and Believe. I sometimes forget that he does NOT need my help, he is God ALL by himself. I am celebrating that his ways are above my ways and his thoughts are higher than my thoughts. Every Good and Perfect Gift comes from Him. I Love living and working and abiding in God transactions! Peace and Blessings to you and your family and ministry.
Preach it, Chelsea! You’ve said it all so beautifully and I know that someone else will be blessed by this testimony that you’ve shared in your comment.
Funny thing, I actually HAVE pet a tarantula. That was easy compared to the things going on in my life right now. I am desperately holding on to Jesus, but sometimes I feel like I slip into my own self-pity.
My youngest daughter (15) barely talks to me and lives with her dad. My oldest daughter (22) doesn’t talk to me or let me see my grandbabies (x3). My step-dad (who raised me) has late stage dementia. My bio-dad yells at me and says I am a failure basically. My marriage is shaky. I am dealing with mental health issues and physical health issues. Life is so crazy right now.
I want desperately to know what the Lords will for me is. I do not know my purpose and ask Him daily. Playing music is one of my gifts. I love to write too, but still am not sure.
I have dealt with dementia (grandparents & as a CNA) but it’s so much different with your parent. I lost my mom to diabetes (she stroked out in front of me at age 11). I watched her suffer for years. I told the Lord I can’t handle another parent suffering, but here we are.
I try and help people when I can though. I understand dementia, so I am on a dementia social media site. I pray for wisdom and words. I understand abuse of all kinds (I have experienced much of it.)
Life can be frustrating and scary, but I will never let go of the Lord. He is my hiding place & peace for sure. When I told him at age 12 he could take me my mom (I was ready) I knew then that he was the real deal. I knew I could trust Him.
Thank you for your story. I appreciate the stories of others. It helps me relate & gives me hope and reassurance. Blessings~ Terra
Terra, thank you for sharing your heart and story with us today. I’m praying for you today as you live with the waves of sadness over your family situations. It’s so precious that you choose to serve others even when you’re grappling with you own circumstances. I pray God’s peace, hope and provision over your life today.
Thank you for beautiful devotion! If anyone is awake at this hour, plz pray for me healing from UTI and pain on right side.
Thanks Sisters in Christ,
I have included you in my prayers Diane. Today was the first time I’ve ever read comments, and I felt compelled to include you in my prayers… Praying for healing and comfort.
What a powerful message to read this morning, as our town had a big storm, a tornado, hit last night! Nobody hurt, Thank God. But this is timely for my spouse and I as we have quit our w2 jobs and are self employed. God knows our needs, our bank account, and He has always kept us close and taken care of us. I love the first post from Beth about putting an ink dot in the palm of her hand to remind her that God has her in the storm. I think I’ll do that. My entire life has been led with prevenient grace, and whenever I even begin to worry, I am reminded of that.
I’ve prayed for all who requested, and for you, Barb, and your continued messages to us, that are so uplifting and somehow so timely.
Gods blessings to you~Lisa