More Faith Less Fear

This past week, I had the opportunity to do worship. It was my kiddo's first day of school! I was both honored and nervous 😅

To be honest, I was more nervous about my five-year old starting school, than I was about speaking to the entire school assembly. I wanted Ethan to experience the "best first day of school ever!" But even I know that things don't always turn out the way we expect or hope they will. Especially with Ethan. That boy is full of surprises 😀

So there we are, standing on the school lawn waiting for the day to begin. I'm watching Ethan like a hawk. Of course, I make my rounds welcoming everyone of our Central Kiddos back to school and saying hi to the teachers, but always keeping my boy in peripheral. He seems to be doing well, but every now and then i catch him looking for me. We make eye contact, he smiles and then goes back to standing next to his classmates.

Then it's time to go inside. I tell the teacher that I'll stand at the back of the line to help keep her students in-line, but secretly I just want to be close to Ethan... to let him know, I'm here for him {Don't judge me, I know you'd do this too if you were in my shoes 😉}.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Now we're inside the gym. All the Kindergartners are taken to their assigned seats. Ethan finds his seat and sits in his chair, social-distancing, like he owns the place... I stand next to his chair making myself available to help wherever I can. I soon find myself running the sound system, checking mics and taking a few iPhone shots of the students. And then before I know it, it's my turn to speak.

I get up to the mic, I start out my worship thought with - "It was a dark and cold, stormy night!" This leads into a story of a time when a plane I was on lost power and we dropped out of the sky... Next I talk about the story of the disciples struggling in their boat fighting against a cold and stormy sea at night. This is the part where Jesus enters the story, but unlike the disciples, He has been communing with God for almost the entire evening and night. Unlike the disciples, He has been with His Father and there is no fear in His heart. In fact, it's at this point of the story that something supernatural happens. Instead of worrying about how to cross the sea and how to deal with the wind, the waves, and the water... Jesus simply walks on top of it and makes His way across the sea as if... well, nothing. The storm isn't a problem for Him. The sea can't hold Him back. It's as if the sea isn't getting Jesus wet, Jesus is getting the sea walked on.

Contrasting the two sets of people in the story (Jesus and His disciples), the bottom-line is introduced: More Faith, Less Fear. But, of course, the opposite is also true: Greater Fear, Less Faith. And so the dilemma every Christian must face. Which will we hold on to? Which will we allow to take hold of our heart? Will it be the gift God is granting us during our time of struggle? Or, the human reaction to all the craziness around us? Whichever you choose, it will continue go grow. And as it grows, the other will diminish.

Peter joins Jesus on the water. He gets a bit caught up in the moment. He takes His eyes off Jesus... and interestingly (this entire time he's walked on water) the storm has not stopped. So, in a matter of moments, he's overwhelmed. Fear sets in. It grows... and as it grows, his faith shrinks, and soon Peter finds himself underwater.

Jesus plunges His hand into the water and pulls Him out. Then He says one of the most interesting phrases ever... in the world of storms and craziness, while the wind is howling and the waves are crashing, Jesus says - "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" (Matthew 14:31 NASB). I like the way the Voice translation puts it: "O you of little faith. Why did you doubt and dance back and forth between following Me and heeding fear?" (Matt. 14:31).

Oh you of little faith... Kind of like saying "oh Peter." He might as well have said - "oh Walter," because I do the very same thing. I look around me and freak out. I see the craziness around me and I worry. I can't even take my children to school on the first day without wondering if everything is going to be alright 😩

And then the final act... the conclusion to the worship thought... I enter the final story of the morning with the words "It was a dark and cold, stormy night!" And this time, another plane is struggling through the storm. High above in the sky a little girl is attempting to draw while the plane rocks, jolts and bounces about through the clouds. The older, more mature lady next to her is struggling to keep her cool. Her white knuckled hands grip the arm rests as she practices her deep breathing exercises. All of a sudden the plane drops and the lights go out. Everyone screams... well, everyone except the little girl.

Lights come back on and everyone is thankful. The plane stabilizes, but the turbulence continues. Finally the lady next to the girl can't take it any longer. She asks the five-year old next to her, "how are you not afraid, young one?" "What is it that keeps you so calm?"

The little girl pauses, looks up from her drawing and simply states, "My daddy is the pilot and I don't have to be afraid." We finish with the bottom line: More faith, less fear.

Our school's theme this year is simply - Faith over Fear. I love it!

As long as we let our Father lead, we'll be okay. The more time we spend focusing on Him, the greater our faith will be. And, the greater our faith grows, the smaller our fear becomes.

I finish the story, close with prayer and walk back over to where Ethan is sitting. I'm standing leaning by the wall, wondering if I should leave... if Ethan will be okay... if all will go well... All of a sudden I notice Ethan get out of his seat and walk over to me. He puts his arms around my legs. I stoop down to tell him he needs to go back to his seat. And in that split second, Ethan leans upward and kisses my cheek. My heart melts.

Time stops... it's as if God is speaking straight to my heart, "Walter, it's going to be okay. Have a little faith son 🙂."

I smile... More faith, Walter. . .

More faith, less fear.

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