“…. but He called out to them, “Don’t be afraid. I am here!” ” – John 6:20 NLT (http://bible.com/116/jhn.6.20.NLT)
Seems like we go through our entire lives being afraid. Afraid of change. I don’t think most people will admit to being afraid of change; most – in my experience – will only say they don’t like change. To me, it just seems a convenient way to deny fear. There are people who embrace change. Being spontaneous and being adventurous. I like spontaneity, myself, and when I was younger, did a number of rather adventurous (well, we wouldn’t want to call them reckless, now!) things…. and in several cases, I believe it was through the intervention of guarding angels that I didn’t die or end up seriously injured. For the most part, I don’t feel the need to prove anything to anyone anymore…. just don’t dare me!!
How does all of this relate to John 6:20?
In the instance that John is recording, the disciples had found themselves in a rather dangerous predicament. I wonder, though, were they more frightened by the storm, or by the appearance of Jesus? It seems almost as if they just got tired of waiting for him, and left without Him. How many times do we do that in our own lives? We know in our hearts that we need to wait for Jesus, but we grow impatient and take off on our own. I’ve done it countless times. Then, when we find ourselves in a predicament, we cry and call for help…. and then we are surprised when Jesus shows up!
“That evening Jesus’ disciples went down to the shore to wait for him. But as darkness fell and Jesus still hadn’t come back, they got into the boat and headed across the lake toward Capernaum. Soon a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough. They had rowed three or four miles when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat. They were terrified, but he called out to them, “Don’t be afraid. I am here! ” Then they were eager to let him in the boat, and immediately they arrived at their destination!” – John 6:16-21 NLT (http://bible.com/116/jhn.6.16-21.NLT)
Wouldn’t it be much easier to wait on Him in the first place? Undoubtedly, but then, we are human and stubborn. After all, what 2 or 3 year old doesn‘t cry “No! I do it!”?? (Don’t bother to deny it – or that most of us take it on into our teen years and adulthood!) After all, how do we learn? Okay, how do most of us learn? In my family, we run the gamut from the ones who took the hard roads to a couple who recognized that letting Jesus be Lord was the way to go early on. At times I wish I would’ve taken the less difficult roads, but then I wouldn’t be who I am today (I’m just glad to be here today!!) I love verse 20: “Don’t be afraid. I am here!”
Even though I turned away from from family and what I knew was right, there was always – always– this little voice in the back of my head whispering whenever I did something that I knew was wrong. I tried really hard to shut it up and to run from it, but nothing worked. It was still there, no matter what I tried. Even switching continents didn’t work. Ugh! It took a pretty good whack on the heart for me to really get it. Everyone’s bottom is different, and some people have to hit theirs more than once. Some people, lots of people, stay on the bottom because it is what they know. Even though it’s incredibly painful for them, it’s also comfortable because it’s what they know.
Fear. Fear of change. It keeps so many of us stuck in bad, ugly, painful circumstances. Change could make it worse, and at least being stuck we at least know what to expect. With change, we could be getting into something worse. I’ve had conversations with people who don’t understand. Why doesn’t she just leave the abusive man? How can he live in such squalor? Because change is hard. It’s scary, and it is painful. It’s all we can relate to. Do you embrace change in your job? Are you happy at the prospect of change in your life? We can look forward to something, but there’s always something fear mixed in, even if the changes is good. When we realize that Jesus is here; when we finally know that He is right here with us, and we accept His Presence, we eliminate so much fear. There will always be that little bit of fear in change, because as long as we live in a broken world we can never be entirely sure it will be better. There is one change that we can wholeheartedly claim and know without a doubt that it will be good… actually, it will be beyond any good that we can imagine, and that is the change we experience when we meet Jesus face to face.
That’s one change I look forward to with NO fear!