istock_000007739690_smallVera was frightened. While riding the city bus home from her downtown job, she’d accidentally gotten off at the wrong stop. The night was dark, the street vacant. She had no choice but to start walking home. Moments later a man drove by and yelled some obscenities out his window. He drove up the street, circled back and parked his car. Then he got out and started following her. She walked faster. He walked faster. She started running. He started running. Not knowing what else to do Vera stopped, turned to face the man, and cried out, “Jesus, help me!” The stranger got a frightened look on his face, ran back to his car and sped away.

Vera’s story reminds me of another dark night when it was Jesus’ disciples who were terrified. Their boat was almost sinking in a storm when they cried out in fear. The story, found in Mark 6:48-52, teaches us what Jesus can do today when we face our own life-storms.

Jesus Always Sees

Although He wasn’t with them, Jesus’ eyes were on those He loved. He saw that His disciples were in trouble. He sees you, too. He has the whole universe to watch over, yet He sees you. He knows you by name—even knows the number of hairs on your head. You may not think He’s watching because the storm can seem overpowering at times, but His eyes are always on you.

Jesus Brings Courage

When His disciples saw Him walking on the water they cried out in fear. Jesus immediately called out, “Courage, it’s me.” He’s there just as quickly for you, and He‘ll bring you courage. That courage may come in the form of a Bible verse, words of a hymn, encouragement from a friend, or reviewing ways God has rescued you in the past. Sometimes it’s an unexplainable, inner confidence He gives you to face your fear.

Jesus Calms Fears

“Don’t be afraid” is what He told His disciples. “Don’t be afraid” is what He tells you. You don’t need to fear sickness, death, aging, loneliness, darkness, poverty, tomorrow…the list could go on until you think of everything you might possible fear. It doesn’t matter. He will still say, “Don’t be afraid.” Not because these fears aren’t valid, or because they couldn’t possibly happen, but because Someone stronger than the storm is in control. Some have called Jesus “The Storm Calmer.” I’ve witnessed His calming presence time and again–in a marriage that was falling apart, in a heated argument between a mom and her teenage daughter, in a woman experiencing tremendous anxiety, in a man aching with physical pain, in a family without an income, in a child whose dog had died.

Between here and heaven we will experience frightening situations. But we don’t have to live in fear. When we cry out to Jesus the assurance is ours, “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”