Words from Pastor Ken

What About Worry?

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me." — Matthew 14:30

Sometimes we believe that being afraid is the same thing as worrying. Is that true? Fear is an emotion and worry is an action. One we can control and the other we can’t. Many of us would love to find the key to help us stop our fear and worry. Let’s take a closer look.

Fear is an emotion (sometimes referred to as a feeling or passion) that occurs when you feel threatened in some way. And, while this threat can be real or imaginary, the important thing to remember is that you can’t control the feeling. That takes some of the pressure off, doesn’t it? Fear, in and of itself, is morally neutral. In other words, don’t be afraid to be afraid! In the Bible, many holy people experienced fear, including Abraham (see Genesis 15:1), Moses (see Numbers 21:34), Mary (see Luke 1:30), Joseph (see Matthew 1:20), and Paul (see Acts 18:9). It is not a sin to be afraid.

What about worry? The dictionary typically defines it as giving way to anxiety or unease or allowing one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles. Although it may not feel like it at times, worrying is a voluntary action. You can choose to not worry. This is an extremely important concept to understand. You can’t control the way you feel, but you can control how you respond to your feelings.

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn 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.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:22-30 NIV)

Peter was a fisherman and knew that it was not possible to walk on water. He was also a disciple of Jesus Christ and a witness to many miracles. Therefore, when the Lord invited him to get out of the boat and walk on water (see Matthew 14:22–33), Peter obeyed. As long as he stayed focused on Jesus, he remained above sea level. When he began to concentrate on the waves crashing around him, however, Peter became afraid and began to sink.

Now, if the story ended there, this would be a terrible example of how to respond to fear. But Peter reacted to the fear by crying out, “Lord, save me!” That is a prayer. In his fear, Peter turned to Jesus instead of worrying. That is exactly what we should do. WILL YOU?

Are we sometimes afraid when we shouldn’t be? There is little doubt that with more testing of this virus going on we will hear that the number of cases that are positive are going up. Some of those will be right here in our community. How will you handle that? Here are a few suggestions:

  • continue to distance and wash your hands
  • strive not to touch your face
  • be careful when you cough or sneeze to cover up
  • be understanding of those that are afraid and seek to calm them
  • enjoy your family during this unusual time
  • contact others and encourage them
  • seek to grow in your relationship with Jesus by reading, listening to sermons and Christian music, connecting with church friends, and prayer

If you have done all of these suggestions it might be good to recognize--you have done all that you can do. Well--maybe there is something else that might help:  Picture Jesus standing in front of you and use the prayer Peter used when he was sinking. “Lord, save me!”

That is a great prayer. After you have said those three little words--tell Him what you want Him to save you from. Oh, make sure you are completely honest and open with Him. I think you will find it will help--AND, feel free to repeat as often as needed.‬‬

Pastor Ken

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