Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.

Hello Friends,

In the next several weeks, WSFC staff members will present honest discussion on several issues brought up after our “I Have A Friend Who…” series. This week, Craig Oviatt talks to us about fear.I have a friend who is consumed by fear.

Fear is one of the most powerful emotions that we experience.Fear can control you,manipulate you,and fear can even destroy you.But without a doubt, fear will rob you of joy.

I have many friends who sadly live in fear and find themselves consumed by that fear. A young boy in Edgewater is afraid of the gangs, or worse yet, yielding to the pressure and becoming a gang member. A newly homeless man fears for his family’s safety and fears he will lose his children. My dear friend who is facing his second fight with cancer and is consumed with fear that cancer will win this time. A single mom who can’t find viable work so she can support her only daughter. She is afraid she will lose her home and her daughter. A young girl met me at the doors of WSFC early in the morning, with tears running down her face after learning her 11-week-old baby had severe birth defects.

I have a lot of friends who are overwhelmed by fear. Joy is fleeting if even present in their lives.

Fear isn’t a bad thing. For instance I remember surfing Sandy Beach (Pounders) on Oahu. It wasn’t the height of the wave that caused my fear, it was seeing a Mako shark nearby – very nearby – and I was on the wrong side of the reef, the perfect place for an attack. I was afraid and that fear led me to want to get across the reef where I would be safe.

But the fear didn’t control me; it inspired and motivated me, but it did not consume me. I didn’t thrash. I didn’t make sudden movements. I calmly paddled across the reef. I was in control.

If I did not know the power of sharks from stories by friends, Shark Week on tv or the movie Jaws, would I have been afraid? No. Unfortunately, I had a lot of knowledge on the power of sharks.

I can vividly remember a number of times after that encounter while swimming at Waimea Bay on the North Shore, when I would become afraid that a shark might be near, so afraid I would rapidly swim to shore. Fear had control of me, but there was nothing to cause that fear, other than a memory of a very close encounter with a predator. I was being consumed by fear and it was stealing my joy.

If we allow it, fear can control anyone of us. Left unchecked, fear will consume us.

In Mark 4:35-41, Jesus and the disciples are in a boat with Jesus asleep in the bow. A storm has overtaken them and they are being tossed about by the wind and waves. The disciples are in fear when they wake Jesus, who calmly quiets the storm.

Without Jesus, the disciples had every reason to be afraid. But with Jesus in the bow of the boat, they should have felt secure and safe. Their fear was unjustified, just as mine was.

The Mako I saw at Pounders swam away; it didn’t chase me. The other times while swimming the North Shore I didn’t even see so much as a sea turtle, let alone a shark, yet I was so afraid I couldn’t enjoy the water. Paradise had become a scary dream.

When Jesus awoke and then calmed the storm, he looked at the disciples and said “ye of little faith.”

If Jesus had been surfing along side of me, I’m certain I would have received the same look and heard the same words, “ye of little faith.”

We will face storms, and when we do we need to immediately call out to Jesus. We need to turn our fear and our worry to prayer. If we don’t, we allow the enemy to use that fear, blowing it out of proportion until it becomes something that controls us, limits us, consumes, and destroys us.

I have friends who live controlled by fear. Some are Christian, some are not. Fear doesn’t discriminate.

Satan uses fear to control and manipulate us. Satan uses it to destroy us and rob us of our joy.

The disciples had Jesus in the boat, their fear was quickly replaced with amazement. My guess is Jesus was right there along side of me at Pounders.

Isaiah 35:4 Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold your God will come with a vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”

I returned to the water. I surfed and swam without fear. How? I called upon Jesus and every time a negative, fearful thought entered my head, I said this to myself repeatedly until joy replaced the fear: “God knows, God cares, God is ALWAYS there.” I prayed before I entered the water and I talked to Jesus while in the water. I didn’t go back into the water alone, I invited Jesus to go with me.

The closer we are to God, the less fearful we will be. Just as the disciples’ fear faded because Jesus was in the same boat, our fear can and will fade when we quickly turn to Christ with our feelings and lean on him.

Regardless of what causes your fear, invite Jesus into it and trust he will protect you. Talk to God and rebuke the enemy. Focus on God.

I’ve spent a lot of quality hours on the water with Jesus. He is a buddy who won’t hurt me, let alone swim away. He just loves me and I love him.

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear,” 1 John 4:18

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