Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions
By Chris WittsWednesday 18 Dec 2019Morning Devotions with Chris Witts
I once needed to fly from Lismore back to Sydney in a small plane for my work.
It was a SAAB turbo propeller aircraft, and I guess there were about 30 of us. It was a bit cramped, but I had flown in one before, and flying doesn’t worry me at all. But a young lady, I guess aged about 19 or 20 got on board, and was obviously distressed. She had never flown on a small plane, and she was not well, and apparently feeling quite panic-stricken. But the cabin crew came to her help before we took off, and succeeded in calming her down. In fact, they were very skillful as I was seated quite near to the poor girl. I did feel sorry for her.
How many people feel like this? Nearly 3 million people around the world fly each day. So flying is very safe: But it doesn’t stop some becoming panic stricken and filled with anxiety, especially in small aircraft which makes them feel trapped and out of control.
But it made me think of how people feel in this kind of situations: not just on board a plane, but in many other situations as well. They may have social anxiety and find it difficult to be in a crowded place or attend a function. So, some people stay at home in fear of having a panic attack. Or children attending a new school can be the source of great stress. There’s usually an overwhelming sense of anxiety, fear and panic.
Jesus, the Answer to Anxiety
Archibald D. Hart, Christian psychologist and expert on stress and anxiety, says in his book, The Anxiety Cure, that “many hard-working, driven people (like you and me) don’t realize just how close [we] walk to the precipice of anxiety until one day, out of the blue, a panic attack strikes … We don’t realise how close we are to the edge of anxiety until we lose our footing and tumble … into the dark abyss of panic.”
In Matthew 8 and also in Mark 4, we read that one day, Jesus said to His disciples, “Let’s cross over to the other side of the sea of Galilee.” So these experienced fishermen did what they had done hundreds of times. They boarded their boat and began to row together while Jesus went below deck and took a much-needed nap. Suddenly, a severe storm came and began to dump rain on them and cause the sea to pitch. It was so bad that even these seasoned sailors began to panic. They awoke Jesus and said accusingly, “Don’t you care that we are perishing?” They knew what conditions could be like, but this storm was something else. They thought they would drown .. Jesus patiently absorbed their criticism and then rebuked the storm, and it stopped immediately. He also rebuked them with these words, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:40)
A better translation of those words says, “Why are you such timid, fearful ones?” Jesus was saying, “Boys, have you not learned anything here?” Suddenly, it was very calm, and Jesus turned to his disciples and asked, “Why are you so afraid? Why are you so afraid of the storms of life? Don’t you have faith? Don’t you trust that I am with you during the storms of life? Where is your faith?”
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And Jesus’ question has also echoed down through the centuries, “Why do you have so little faith in the midst of the storms of life?” After all, what did Jesus say to them? He said, “Let’s cross over to the other side!” He did not say, “Let’s go to the middle of the sea of Galilee and drown together!” If He had said that, they might have been justified in their collective panic.
Not Smooth Sailing, But a Safe Passage
Jesus did not promise smooth sailing, but He did promise a safe passage. And I know many Christians have said: “I would rather be in a storm with Jesus than anywhere else without Him.” So, if you are in a storm of life, remember that Jesus will “get you to the other side.”
Trust Him. He will not abandon you or let you down. You have His Word on it. For He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” Hebrews 13:5
Jesus said in John 14:27 “I give you peace, the kind of peace that only I can give. It isn’t like the peace that this world can give. So don’t be worried or afraid”.
And in Psalm 50:15 God says to us “Pray to me in time of trouble. I will rescue you, and you will honour me”.
- See more Morning Devotions with Chris Witts