Mark 4:45 finds Jesus and his disciples traveling by boat when a severe storm hits and its waves cause the vessel to begin to take on water. For fear of death, the disciples panic and wake Christ, who was sleeping, saying don't you care if we drown! Jesus gets up and rebukes and calms the storm and then asks his disciples "Why are you still afraid? Do you still have faith?"
How can this incongruence occur? How can two people experience the same storm and have two completely different responses: fear vs. rest? The answer is perspective.
The battleground of the enemy is your mind, and the power of life and death are in your tongue. How you view your situation will effect what you believe, what you believe will effect what you say, what you say will bear fruit. That's why the enemy attacks your thoughts: He is trying to alter your perspective.
You may have a situation in which you cannot change or control the variables, but if you change your mind set and the way you view it, you can change the way it affects you. For example, you're in a brainstorming meeting at work trying to figure out how to cut cost because the company is losing money. You see this adversity from its negative because it will lead to layoffs while your partner sees it as an opportunity to restructure. Same problem, different perspective, different effect.
When you change your perspective and start seeing things the way God does, there is a freedom attached. Pray that God gives you spiritual eyes to see things the way he does. When you do, you won't stay bound up in depression, anxiety, fear, condemnation and guilt. There is nothing more powerful than a changed mind!
I know the scriptures state "Cast your care upon the Lord for he cares for you," but until recently I had a hard time relating to this text. My husband and I were traveling home from Morgantown to Huntington when we encountered adverse weather conditions.
Confident in his ability to navigate us safely through the storm, I went to sleep. I slept almost the entire trip. When we arrived home he began to give an account of all the challenges he had encountered due to the rain and wind and how it was a stressful trip for him. He stressed while I slept. The Lord showed me that this is what the scripture means to cast your care on him.
The Lord wants us to rest in his ability to guide us safely through our adversities and storms. I can't help but wonder if that is what Jesus meant when he asks his disciples why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?
After all that the disciples had seen and heard, they still could not trust fully that Christ was who he said he was? Which begs the question, who is he to you?
Is he your provider? If so, then you cannot allow worry to set in when the economy turns. Is he your restorer? If so, then you have to stop toiling over that broken relationship and trust God to bring it to health if it's his will. Is he your healer? Then when a bad doctor's report comes, don't allow yourself to start operating in fear. You cannot serve two Gods. The one that is more real to you is the one that is Lording over you and the one you are serving.
Storms of life will come. Some look like what you are up against is insurmountable and overwhelming. In those moments, pray and ask God to allow you to see your situation the way he does because you will have to choose whether you are going to allow yourself to operate in fear or faith. Decide what you're going to allow to Lord over you - God's promises or the circumstance. As Bishop Jakes once said, you can have two conflicting truths coexisting at the same time (the bad doctor's report vs. trusting that God is my healer). The only thing that changes its effects on you is your perspective.
Maria Reynolds, a Wayne County resident, is founder of Curator Ministries and an ordained minister with Expression Church in Huntington.