Talk about fear! Zechariah was a priest and was serving at the Temple. While serving, an angel appeared to him and told him that he and his wife would have a child. The child, the angel said, would be filled with the Holy Spirit and be a prophet like Elijah.
Zechariah didn’t believe the angel – and why would he? He and Elizabeth were both very old and they had both resigned themselves to the idea that they would never have children. But God had a different plan.
Elizabeth gave birth to John, who is John the Baptizer, the forerunner of Jesus and the prophet who prepared the way for Jesus, the Messiah, to come to his people. How marvelous that God could use a barren couple to bring into the world such an important figure in history!
But in the beginning, Zechariah was greatly afraid. In fact, he didn’t believe the angel and was struck mute for the duration of the pregnancy because of his unbelief.
Sometimes I feel like we are like Zechariah – scared and unwilling to possibly believe that God has a plan even when it seems unlikely or even impossible. But the fact of the matter is that God does have a plan for each one of us. It doesn’t matter who you are, there is a purpose for your life. I like to say that if you’ve got a pulse, you’ve got a purpose. In this pandemic, it’s easy to get distracted and fearful, but we must stay focused on God. God has a plan, and we should trust in that plan, even when we can’t see it. If you’re struggling to see the plan right now, spend time in prayer, asking God to open your eyes so that you can see things through God’s viewpoint. Another thing you can do is talk with a trusted friend or pastor to ask them to help you see where God may be leading. Stay the course.
Picture yourself in the middle of a lake, perhaps fishing or just relaxing in the sun with friends and family. Suddenly and without warning, a great storm swirls above your head and the winds and waves pick up. You desperately try to navigate back to land, but your efforts are useless. The water is your master now, and you’re completely at its mercy. You make sure everyone has their life jackets on and you brace yourself for the worst. In desperation, you send up a prayer that God will protect you and your loved ones from this storm and it suddenly stops and becomes still again.
Pretty unrealistic scenario, right?
That’s similar to what was happening with the disciples in our passage today. They were on a boat with Jesus asleep and the wind and waves were raging fiercely about them, tossing them to and fro. The disciples panic, wake Jesus, and beg him to save them.
Jesus simply rebukes the waves and wind and the sea is instantly calm again. With a word from the Lord the storm is silent. The disciples are astonished, for they don’t yet fully know who Jesus is – they won’t have a complete picture of that until his resurrection. Yet, in spite of their lack of faith, Jesus chooses to save them.
Sometimes when things are going awry, we question Jesus. We wonder if Jesus is simply sleeping. Why aren’t you helping me, Jesus? Why aren’t you stopping this storm?
The answer Jesus gives us is to have faith. Have faith that he is ultimately in control and that he has a plan for our lives and our situation – even when it seems doomed and hopeless.
And in those moments when we simply can’t muster up the faith to believe any longer, our prayer changes: “Lord, help me in my unbelief.” God will honor those types of prayers – honest prayers – raw prayers – prayers from the heart.
In this passage, Paul is talking to the church at Corinth about the concerns of this world. He is talking specifically about possessions and becoming too attached to them. He tells us that he wants us to be free from the concerns of this life so that we can focus on what really matters: the Kingdom of God.
Sometimes we get consumed with the things of this world. We worry about the phone we have, the car we drive, and the clothes we wear. But the secret to being truly happy is to forget about these things and focus on God and what he wants for your life.
If we focus solely on God, then the other things that seem so important to us now will quietly fade into the distance. We will see things through God’s eyes and not through our limited human sight.
In times like these, when things are uncertain, it’s easy to focus on the negative things and the things that we don’t know. Paul tells us that instead of focusing on these things, we should be focusing on God. When we put our focus on God then we can have faith that he will get us through whatever we are going through – no matter what.
I’m currently struggling with some things regarding my future. It’s not an easy situation or a situation I thought I’d find myself in right now. I had a plan and I was headed a certain direction and then it felt as though the rug was pulled out from under me. What am I going to do? Where am I going to do it? Was the time, money, and energy I spent to get this point a total waste? It is frustrating to say the least, and in my weakest moments I question God and his plan for me.
However, I know that God has a plan, and that his plan is what is best. I know that even though I can’t see it now, there is something better for me on the horizon. Instead of focusing on what I don’t have, dreams left hanging in the balance, I need to keep my focus on Jesus, my Rock and my Salvation. That’s what it means to be free from the concerns of this life. So keep your eyes on Jesus, and I’ll do the same!