by Donna Hutchison Parker
How many times did our Lord have to relay that message to his people?
Jesus and the disciples were physically and emotionally exhausted. Herod had just murdered Jesus’ cousin, John the baptizer. Jesus wanted some time alone, but the multitudes followed him even to a desolate place.
Jesus’ compassion caused him to put their needs ahead of his own. He healed their sick and fed five thousand men, plus women and children, with five loaves and two fish. He sent the disciples away in a boat, then dismissed the multitudes and finally went up the mountain alone to pray.
The disciples didn’t make much headway across the sea because of contrary winds. In the night, Jesus came walking on the water toward them. When they saw him, they “were frightened, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out with fear” (Matthew 14:26 NASB).
Like all of our God-given talents and abilities, imagination can be used for good or ill. Satan tempts us to use it to imagine the worst in every situation. It’s one of his most effective tools. Imagining the worst creates and feeds fear and distracts us from our Light and our Salvation.
Jesus replied to the terrified disciples, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid” (v. 27).
We Christians need to write these comforting words boldly across our hearts and stake them at the front gate of our imaginations. When we’re faced with sickness, tragedy, evil, it may seem humanly impossible not to be terrified and imagine the very worst outcomes. In those times, we must remember that Jesus is with us as surely as he was with Peter and the others in that boat. He is calling us, as he called them, to greater triumphs than the human part of us can accomplish alone.
That’s one of the most beautiful blessings of being a Christian. As long as we are walking in the light, we never have to face anything alone. Not only will he be with us through our earthly trials, in Romans 8:28 we learn that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God…” All things. Whether or not we can see it happening.
The disciples’ imaginations created a ghost that terrified them. Jesus comforted them and turned their fear into an opportunity to increase their faith. Terrors will attack us on this earth. Satan will use them to try to destroy our faith. Let’s take the hand of Jesus and, with his help, use them instead to grow in faith.
Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not look anxiously about you, for I am your God:
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
Donna Hutchison Parker is a writer who has had three novels published and two more are under contract. Her husband Neal is an elder at the Prattville Church of Christ.
by Donna Hutchison Parker