Anxiety is rooted in Fear. We’ve all experienced one or both at some point in our lives. Maybe you are experiencing anxiety right now? Recently, I’ve been on some cold medicine and I’ve noticed anxiety afflicting me, especially at night. I’m tired, but my thoughts seem to keep going. My body feels hyper-sensitive along with my hearing. I worry that I’m not sleeping, so then I find myself in a cycle of worrying that I’m not going to get enough sleep before morning which then causes me to think and problem solve the reason of why I’m not sleeping soundly which then keeps me more and more awake. (Woah, I’m feeling anxious just reliving this!)
In Luke 8:22 this passage has been subtitled “Jesus Calms the Storm”. It’s the familiar story of Jesus crossing over in a boat when a major storm arises. Jesus is sleeping through the whole event as the disciples are fearing for their lives because the boat is getting swamped with water. They wake him up, and he simply speaks to the storm and then peace occurs. The way I’ve heard it, and the way I’m describing it here, makes it sound so simple. You might end up thinking that the lesson might be, “You shouldn’t ever be afraid if you have Jesus in your life”. This is a misconception of the life of a follower of Jesus. Storms will still arise and storms are scary.
In this passage you can relate this to your life, so let’s take a look at what was really happening…The followers of Jesus, his disciples, are on a journey with Jesus and they were crossing over into something and somewhere new. As they were moving forward a storm approaches. A storm not only approaches but is bent on stopping the journeyers from reaching their destination. Now in verse 23 we can see the character of Jesus and he had an attitude of peace with absolutely no fear of what lies ahead. The disciples however felt total fear.
Fear wants to stop us from reaching our destiny.
Now don’t think too poorly of the disciples, after all, at this point the boat was being swamped with water as the wind and the waves were blowing over the boat. They were going to drown. This was the circumstances that they not only saw but the very tangible physical experience that they were feeling.
Remember my description of my anxiety? I was experiencing and feeling something very real. This was my storm in the midst of my peaceful night’s sleep. Fear was rising up with the purpose to overtake me, to have me drowning in fear so much so that I wouldn’t be able to function the next day and accomplish my destiny that I was moving toward.
The disciples wake Jesus and he speaks to the wind and the waves. He calms the storm.
Colossians 3:15 “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” The Holy Spirit revealed to me one of those nights in the midst of my storm to thank God. Here I was, alert, my mind going, my body buzzing and I’m reaching for whatever I know to use to battle this anxiety.
I reach for prayer.
So I am rebuking the spirit of anxiety and asking for the Lord to fill me with peace. –I felt nothing. I felt absolutely no change. So I thought, maybe I need to repeat that prayer as if maybe I didn’t say it right, or God didn’t hear me…again, no change.
“Can’t you see I’m drowning here Lord? I just need to sleep!”
Now the more I think about it, the worse it gets. I get up and walk around and pray again, but more simply this time, “Jesus, please tell me what to do.” Then the thought of thanking him entered my mind. As I headed back to my bed, I started thanking God for specific family members, I felt instant relief from anxiety, then friends and by the time I got two friends in, I was out for the rest of the night. Jesus calmed the storm. This same incidence happened again, except this time I started right away with the thankfulness. I only was able to express my gratitude to Jesus for about three people and then total peace. This is amazing, thankfulness is tied to experiencing the peace of Christ!
Back to the disciples in Luke 8, they too were now experiencing peace. Peace was restored to their journey. They now had a renewed confidence in who Jesus is, and how he is able to bring peace to any element that will rise up. For the disciples at that time, those elements were the wind and waves, but for us it can be anything. For myself, recently it’s been anxiety that Jesus has calmed through thankfulness.
What elements or storms do you have in your life that are rising up to stop you from reaching your destiny? Ask Jesus to tell you what to do. It just might start with thankfulness.