Trading an Anxious Life for a Hope-Filled Future
By: Chelsey DeMatteis
Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”- Mark 4:38
Palms sweating, heart pounding, throat tightening. These three things defined several years of my life. I vividly remember sitting in my car, tears pouring from my eyes, calling my pastor and saying, “I’m reading God’s truth and saying it out loud, why isn’t anything changing?” I was desperate for an answer to band-aid what I was feeling, but that is not what I got.
Years later, I’m so thankful for that call with my pastor, because he taught me in that desperate place that God’s Word isn’t magic, it's a powerful letter from God inviting us into a relationship that will teach us and lead us through these hard things.
That day, I learned this truth: Jesus is in my boat, but that doesn't mean He will instantly remove suffering or instantly answer prayers. It means He wants to join me and see me through my storm. He wants my next thought to be about Him and not my circumstance.
My long season of anxiety often takes me to the story of the disciples in the boat with Jesus. Mark 4:37-38 “A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” Picture this, while the storm was raging around them Jesus was sleeping. Why would Jesus keep sleeping in the midst of their fear, in the midst of a storm they felt they would drown in?
This is a valid question, one I’m sure we’ve all found ourselves asking within seasons that looked like we might drown if they last any longer. For me, in my anxious moments, I’d find myself calling someone who I felt could help keep my head above the water, someone who could listen and validate my feelings. While this approach might feel good at the moment, I know it’s not the one God calls us to when we’re in a relationship with Him.
When we look at Mark 4:38, we can’t overlook the details. Jesus was “sleeping on a cushion.” Jesus was completely comfortable where He was, nothing going on was surprising Him, and He was the perfect example of peace. Jesus did awaken, but it was only when the disciples went to Him. Isn’t that amazing? I praise God for that detail as it’s a reminder of why I need to pursue Christ at all times. He wants us to acknowledge Him, especially in the moments that typically take our eyes off of Him.
Jesus wasn’t oblivious to the raging storm going on around them. He wasn’t caught off guard by their anxieties because He is all-knowing. But, He did ask them at that moment, "do you still have no faith?” (Mk.4:40)
It’s the same with us, He wants to see us trusting in Him no matter what season we're facing and He uses all things to teach us more about Him, His character, and why we undeniably need Him.
Truthfully, the more I’ve been faced with moments of anxiety, the more opportunities I’ve had to invite the Lord in and stand in the confirmation He is with me and for me. I cling to the facts that He is all-knowing, He is the Author of each day, He is the Alpha, Omega, Beginning, End, He is Just, and He is Kind.
It’s not that our faith in the Lord will exempt us from affliction and make our anxieties go away, but what our faith does give us is a safe, secure place to walk through our anxious and fear-filled situations.
For me, what started as a season of loneliness and wondering where God was, later became what He used to bring me to a place of knowing I am seen and understood by our Creator. He knows what I need and I know I can trust Him with me.
The next time you find yourself facing events that cause your anxiety to flare or trigger anxious thought patterns, remember that you have Jesus in your boat. Call on Him, trust in Him, and cling to Him as He sees you through your raging storm.
You can find more from Chelsey on her website, https://www.chelseydematteis.com/.
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