Special Features

In a Scary World, God Is Enough

“Here is the world. Terrible and beautiful things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” -Frederick Buechner

We live in a beautiful, scary world. Redemption and tragedy exist in the same breath. How easily we can begin to feel overwhelmed and shaken by the struggles life presents to us! Every morning, we hear about another crisis, another disaster, another unspeakable act of violence. We sometimes fail people we love the most, and they fail us in return. Sometimes, we feel like all we can do is fasten ourselves down in anticipation of the next storm.

And the reality is, that next storm will come. It always does. So how do we continue on? How do we get out of our beds and leave our houses to face whatever this new day might bring, the beautiful and the scary?

No matter what new trial awaits us, we hold on to this single truth: God is enough.

We see evidence of this truth throughout the Bible. When God’s people face the storms of life, they find solace in Him. One of the first examples that comes to mind is when the disciples found themselves in the middle of a literal storm. Though many of them were experienced fishermen who had no doubt sailed through rough weather before, this situation was different. Mark 4:37 says, “And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.” The disciples grew scared for their very lives.

And where was Jesus during all of this? He was in the boat, right beside them. We might think that His presence would have been enough to calm all their fears, but much to their dismay, Jesus chose this moment as the ideal time to take a nap. Verse 38 shows us how abandoned the disciples felt: “And they woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’”

Of course, Jesus calmed the storm. He then said to them, “’Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?’” (Mark 4:40). The disciples were always safe, even when the storm was pouring gallons of water into their boat, even when they thought the waves might capsize their boat, even when they thought they would drown. But Jesus was there. He was always beside them. He controls the wind and water. He has created all things, and all things must answer to His voice. When it seems like He is sleeping during our storms, we must remember that He never forgets us or forsakes us. Even when we don’t understand His actions, He is still the captain of our ship, steering us in the right direction. He is enough.

Some of the most intense storms we will face are in our relationships with others, even with other believers. Whether with our spouses, parents, children, church community, or friends, we will encounter conflict that we don’t know how to resolve. These storms are especially terrifying because we don’t want to lose the people we love. What happens when both parties think they are doing the right thing, think they are trying to please God, and they still can’t find common ground? We might start asking, “God, why won’t You resolve this? Why won’t You change the other person, or even change me? I thought we were on the same ship, but now it feels like we’re heading in entirely different directions.”

Paul faced this exact situation when he found himself at odds with Barnabas concerning John Mark. Barnabas wanted to bring John Mark along with them on their missionary journey, but Paul found him to be unreliable. Acts 15:39-40 says, “And there arose a sharp disagreement, so they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.”

This ministry partnership, built around a shared love for the Lord and passion for preaching His gospel, was broken. Two godly men had different opinions and endured what was almost certainly an emotional, painful split. So where is God when our relationships don’t work out? Paul and Barnabas might have wondered the same thing, but in fact, He was still leading both of them to exactly where He needed them. They both continued to follow Jesus, spreading the Good News throughout the world. In fact, Paul later served alongside John Mark, implying that these brothers in Christ were able to reconcile once more.

Sometimes, God does see fit to mend our broken relationships. Sometimes, He does not. Either way, we can trust Him with our loved ones. None of us is perfect. Despite our best intentions, we will hurt one another and sometimes be forced to walk away from those we once held close. Though these situations are painful and scary, they are also beautiful. They lead us to the reconciliation that can only be found in Christ. Maybe it will be on this earth, or maybe it will be when we meet in heaven one day, free from the sin, pride, and guilt that hinders us now. Regardless of when, we can go forward knowing God is directing our paths. He is enough.

But what about those times that we are not operating out of our best intentions? What about those times when we are blatantly disobedient, when we actively choose sin, when we turn away from God? Will He continue to guide us through the disaster when it is one of our own making?

Let’s look to the story of Peter. After Jesus has been taken away to be crucified, Peter let his fear completely consume him. On three occasions, he denied that he ever knew Jesus (see John 18:15-18, 25-27. He had sworn that he would always stay by Jesus’ side, that he would die for Him. Suddenly, he became the picture of cowardice, choosing his safety over his Lord.

How many times have we prioritized our safety, our comfort, our addiction, our amusement, our flesh over our Lord? Upon realizing what we have done, we run away, too ashamed to face Jesus, certain that this time, He will be done with us for good.

And yet, Jesus stays. We can never be so bad that He will abandon us. We can never run so far that He will not come find us. When Peter did encounter Jesus again after the resurrection, Jesus did not rebuke him. Instead, He commanded Peter three times, “Feed My sheep” (John 21:15-17). Peter’s work for the Kingdom of God was not done. Jesus was still steering his ship. Peter had made such a mess of things that he probably thought he could never get his life back on course. As it turns out, that was never his job. He just had to trust his Captain. God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. He is enough.

The world is beautiful and it is terrifying. Tragedy occurs. Relationships end. Sin corrupts. We fear, we falter, we fail. We get lost in the storm.

But we keep sailing. Jesus is always guiding the ship. He is enough—more than enough.

***

By: Rich Leland, Walk Thru the Bible’s VP for International

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