In the last few years, I have noticed major changes in weather patterns. It now snows where it never snowed, it rains where it would never rain, it’s cold where it should be hot and hot where it should be cold. The seasons are off. I’ve seen pink blooms on trees one week and withering and dying leaves the very next week. One set of rose bushes bloom all season long one year while the next rose bush remains barren until spring.
Meteorologists are challenged to keep up with their prediction of weather fronts, bulletins and charts. Even with hi-tech graphics, interactive pointers and satellites, the forecasts can assure us of no rain, yet we walk out into rainy skies or vice-versa. But, do you know what? We still plan field trips, barbecues, and cookouts. We pick out that certain outfit to wear. Great ships confidently chart their courses based on this information. Our life plans are largely based on the belief in these reports. We generally do not question the meteorologists’ accuracy because of the reputation of the source and the quality of their equipment.
One day, I began to think about how much faith we put into these reports. I mean, even though we ourselves don’t see clouds or sun, we may not feel the rain, nor hear thunder or see lightning. What really makes us blindly act and prepare according to a source that at times has proven to fail us? And after what, why?
Why, I pondered, do I question God and His instruction when it rains in my life? He has never failed me. I may not have understood. It may not have been what I would have done. It may not have happened in my timing. Yet, He never failed,and I always prevailed (though sometimes I felt like I lost). I thought about how I hesitate with Him but not with the weather report. How pleased would Almighty God be with me, if, in every area of my life, I would just ‘act accordingly’ in faith, like with those weather forecasts?
Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
As Christians, I know we claim to believe in the promises of God. We believe in His favor, care, deliverance, healing, justice and mercy. We boast in His power, love, protection and provision, but the truth of the matter is sometimes, when things in life go awry, we panic. His record of forecast accuracy goes blank during tribulation. We forget how much power God has and that He gave this kind of power to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. We tend to get a kind of “spiritual amnesia” which is brought on by nothing but old-fashioned fear.
This “spiritual amnesia” is designed to set us off-course. Heed this thought: As we have gone through the first two months of the new year, in a new decade, there has been a shift in the atmosphere. A new storm is here. More people are discouraged than ever before. There’s digression in boldness and strength, faithfulness and commitment, and an increase in spiritual leadership falling away. There are new sicknesses and diseases, suicide and financial insecurity. Life situations are spiraling out of control and therefore a growing heaviness on the Christian faith, rendering some unable to stand fast and be steadfast. I believe a dangerous combination among the saints is to be “Faithless and Fearful.”
I want you to be encouraged. I want you to know the power you have been given is at your hand. I do not want the abovementioned paragraph to discourage you, but make you aware of the forecast. We have no reason to fear.
Let’s go to the Word of God and take a look at a very familiar passage and beloved story. There are valuable lessons in the Faith vs. Fear Forecast. As you read, find out how fear can cause doubt, defeat, depression and weariness. Understand why this deceptive tool is so effective. Learn how and why we must remind ourselves that Jesus Christ’s example of approaching the storm and his endowment of power upon us is ‘THE GREATEST POWER’. Jesus is the most accurate weatherman and as long as he brings us the forecast, we can do everything we have been assigned to do and be all that we have been created to be.
Mark 4:35-41 (NIV)
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Note these few points:
• Jesus and the Twelve had been ministering to the people all day. They were tired. Jesus was drained. There were also other little ships with him. They took him to the other side to rest. What is the significance? When we give of ourselves and pour out, we must make time to rest and replenish. We do not think clearly and our bodies will not respond properly when we are exhausted. Physically and spiritually, we must be in shape to make sound decisions.
• A great windstorm arose, the waves broke over into the ship and so the ship was filling with water. Significance? In the natural, we may see ourselves going under, but the passage doesn’t say the boat was sinking, just that it was almost full of water. There is no mention that they even tried to get the water out. They were working themselves into a frenzy of “what-ifs.” They were convinced the boat would sink. They saw “an” outcome without processing “the” outcome. Weather forecasts report the “possibility and probability” of a weather condition. Once we hear the report, we head outside and check the given information and then dress and plan accordingly, because we “saw” it for ourselves. In reality, it is easier to believe what is seen rather than what is not seen, but why? My thought is, the longer you fret over the imagination of demise, the less time you take to process the future victory…which is faith. We have got to do what is required of us first, rethink, remind, regroup. Then do the work. Act on God’s promise.
• Jesus was asleep, on a pillow. The disciples woke him up and asked if he cared that they were about to die. Significance? What a question! They had been with Jesus for a while. They all saw, up close, how compassionate, loving, and caring he was. Fear had blinded them. It robbed them of their personal experiences with Jesus. The mere fact that Jesus had a pillow and was asleep should have been enough assurance that they would not drown. And ponder these two scenarios: first of all, Jesus was on the boat with them, so naturally and physically speaking, being in the bottom of the boat, he would have drowned first, right? Surely, he could have/would have saved himself! And secondly, spiritually, what if Jesus stayed asleep on purpose, with confidence, because he prayed for the disciples to do greater works than himself and that Almighty God would protect them (John 14:12, John 17)? He sounded pretty disappointed in their reactions, yet saved them anyway.
• Jesus got up and spoke precise words, and the wind and seas obeyed. We must be confident, precise, and bold, and speak in faith. We cannot waver and doubt. He believed the words because he was the Word made flesh. (John 1:14) Power was given to him by his Father (John 14 – John 17). If only the disciples remembered that they were with Jesus! When we get a report of any storm, let us remember Almighty God, Jesus, and the holy spirit are there with us. The holy spirit is there to guide us, direct us and show us. Speak what the outcome should be and believe in that. It is God’s will and desire for us to prosper and be in good health even as our soul prospers. (3 John 1:2).
• When Jesus asked them why they feared and told them they had little faith, they became even more fearful. They wondered who this man really was. Significance? All this time, they saw the authority Jesus had. They saw all of the miracles. They heard all of his sermons. They even received private group lessons, and just now they are asking who he is. Could it be they were realizing the seriousness of the association with Jesus Christ? This of course would rain more fear, because they really were amiss. Let us draw close to the truth and realize this walk and this life are very real. And relevant!
Maybe, at some point, we all have been guilty of not realizing who we are or whose we are. Our feeling a lack of measuring up or our personal failures causes us not to come boldly. But do not be deceived! Fear is not of God. God has not given us a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7)! Jesus Christ came to move that barrier, so we can go to Abba Father without guilt! It is the adversary’s job to trick us, deceive us, and fool us, because he lost that right. God is real, His plan is real, His Kingdom is real. He truly loves us. Our purpose is important to the Kingdom, we are important in the Kingdom.
When we let our NOW situations rob us of our NOW faith, we cannot see triumph. We only see doubt. Hebrews 11 shows us that faith is unseen but there is evidence of its existence. Hope in it, believe in it, know it (Hebrews 11:1). Storms will come, troubles will rise up. We were warned. And with that warning was a way of survival given (John 15).
Do a weather check. Even though a cloud is there, surely behind it sits the sun and maybe even a rainbow. When rains come, rejoice, because surely a garden will bloom (at some point). Never let fear of the unknown (and sometimes the known) outweigh what you do know by faith:
1. Jesus is always with you. Whose report will you believe?
2. You have the power to make it through your situation.
3. Maintain faith by prayer, fellowship, hope of the Kingdom, and brotherly love.
Article by Minister Deborah Gaddy