A couple of weeks ago I wrote a story titled “Snorkeling” about my panic when I kept getting water inside my mask while trying to snorkel (see previous post), but I never made any application of it.
Here is what comes to my mind when I think about that:
Some time ago I read an interesting comparison between being afraid and being terrified.
Analyzing the situation described in the Bible when Jesus was in a boat with His disciples and a great storm caught them in the middle of the lake, Timothy Keller highlights the fact the text says the disciples were afraid of the storm. Considering most of these men were fishermen, this was probably a severe storm.
At that point Jesus, who was sleeping, is called by the disciples who inform Him about the dangerous situation.
Jesus stands up and tells the waters: “Quiet! Be still!” and the storm was gone.
Now the text says that when the disciples saw what happened they were terrified asking themselves: “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him!”
So, initially they were afraid of the storm, but they could fight for survival. They had seen those before.
Now, they know they are in the presence of someone bigger than the forces of nature. In virtually any culture, the control of the natural forces is understood as something supernatural. The disciples know they are in the presence of God. And this is bigger than anything they had dealt with before.
It’s awesome and terrifying.
I still find it amazing that the God who created everything is near us and is willing to hear our prayers, just like He did in the boat with the disciples.