Summary: Fear can propell you towards faith in God, or it can paralyze you from fulfilling Gods purpose for your life.
AVOIDING LIFES CLIFFS
A man was being chased by a tiger. He ran as hard as he could until he was at the edge of a cliff with the tiger in hot pursuit. The man looked over the edge of the cliff and saw a branch growing out of the side of the cliff a few feet down. He jumped down and grabbed the branch just as the tiger reached the cliff. The tiger growled viciously as the man sighed a great sigh of relief.
Just then a mouse came out from a crevice and began to chew on the branch. The man looked down to what was a drop of a thousand feet and sure death and looked to the heavens and yelled out, "Dear God, if you are there, please help. I will do anything you ask but please help."
Suddenly a voice came booming down from heaven, "You will do anything I ask?" it questioned.
The man shocked to hear a reply to his plea yelled back, "I will gladly do anything you ask, but please save me."
The voice from heaven then replied, "There is one way to save you but it will take courage and faith."
The branch began to weaken from the mouse and the tiger was still growling a few feet above the man, "Please, Lord, tell me what I must do and I will do it. Your will is my will."
The voice from heaven then said, "All right then, let go of the branch."
The man looked down to a fall of a thousand feet and certain death. He looked up at the hungry tiger a few feet away and he looked at the mouse still chewing on the branch. Then he looked up at the heavens and yelled, "Is there anyone else up there?" (Contributed to Sermon Central by Danny Thomas)
It sounds funny, but that story is far more like us than we care to think. Far too often we are more focused on what we want, or what we think is best than to listen to what God is saying to us and doing what God asks us to do. We spend more time worrying about how things look than about how things are. Way too much of the time we only go through the motions, we really don’t respond out of our faith.
The disciples were on a small boat out in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. The weather started getting rough. I don’t know how many of you have ever been out on the water when the weather turned bad, but it is a frightening experience. I have a hard time imagining how frightening things must have been on that fishing boat.
As the disciples were bouncing around suddenly they see something that their minds know to be impossible, even in good weather. A man was walking toward them on the water. If you are already a bit scared because of the rough seas and now you see this?
The disciples knew that they had to be either dreaming or seeing things, or this was something beyond the natural laws of the world around them. That little bit of knowledge would be enough to scare most any of us.
Then Jesus tells them not to be afraid. (That statement probably came at least a minute or two too late.)
Somehow, Peter, however, even from his fear, manages to say, “Lord, if it is really you, call me out to you on the water.” Jesus then tells him to come and Peter gets out of the boat and begins walking on the water toward Jesus. The other disciples however, remain huddled together, in the safety of the boat which is being rocked back and forth by the wind and waves.