By Tammye Hamilton
My friend Sherri has a terrible fear of birds. While she is hilarious about it and it gives her friends the opportunity to tease her mercilessly, she would tell you the fear is REAL.
Normally an intelligent and rational person of faith, when Sherri encounters birds, she expects to be attacked. Now, she has never been attacked by crazed birds, mind you, but like most fears of what might happen, Sherri’s fear is rooted in a past experience.
Years ago, when she was a very little girl, she sneaked into the room while the Hitchcock thriller “The Birds” was on TV. Little Sherri watched in horror as Tippi Hedren fought off the swarm of homicidal winged creatures. The traumatizing experience left my friend with an irrational fear.
If you envision the negative possibilities, you will be paralyzed by fear.
Jesus rebuked His disciples for not having faith five times in the book of Matthew. Twice he was addressing their fear of lack.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” Matthew 6:25
In their world it is possible they had experienced lack, or observed it around them. Our daughter works with the homeless and has told us stories of how much some of them fear someone taking their possessions, even though they own nothing of value.
Two of the occasions in Matthew happened when Jesus was on the water. On the first occasion, there was a terrible storm and the disciples woke Jesus up to tell them they were all going to die.
Jesus said, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”
Because they were seasoned fishermen, it is likely they had experienced bad weather before. Maybe they had even been shipwrecked and nearly drowned. Their fear was rooted in their experience.
A few chapters later, Jesus miraculously walks on the water and Peter responds in faith. He actually gets out of the boat and takes a few steps before being overcome by fear. Logically, it was impossible and when Peter took His eyes off Jesus, He could only see the wind.
Maybe the scary movie that plays in your head is causing you to doubt. You believe God’s promises but your past, your circumstances or even the current cultural climate that surrounds us has caused you to look at the wind and begin to sink. Things seem hopeless. History tells us there is plenty to fear.
If we listen to Jesus, who tells us to have faith and focus on the miracles that can happen, it will build our faith. I love that Jesus said, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."