As servants of Messiah, we are supposed to have faith in our Savior. We know that He can do anything and save us even from the darkest pit. All throughout the Bible it says to believe and not to fear, as fear tries to destroy faith.
For I am Yehovah your Elohim, holding your right hand, saying to you, “Do not fear, I will help you.Isaiah 41:13
In the Hebrew language, the word for “fearing” and the word for “seeing” are very similar in spelling and pronunciation. Hebrew suggests that fearing comes from seeing. It’s like the Bible account of how the apostle Peter became fearful when He saw the waves around him (Matthew 14).
What I find interesting is that Peter was already walking on the water when He became afraid. He was walking on the very waves that frightened him. When he began to fear, that is when He began to sink.
Like Peter, we can rise above the waves around us and do the impossible by the strength of Yeshua. When we keep our eyes on Messiah, and don’t look at the wind and waves around us, we will have faith, not fear.
For we walk by faith, not by sight.2 Corinthians 5:7
But there are times when we can’t help but see the waves–the things around us that look so big and frightening. We ask ourselves, is it a sin to feel scared? Is it ever possible to feel scared, yet still have faith?
I propose that the feeling of fear inside of you means very little. We place too much emphasis on feelings. Hebrew is an action-based language. You are what you do. So what matters is not whether we feel brave, but whether we act brave.
Fear as an emotion isn’t a sin, but it can lead you toward acting in fear, or acting in faith. It’s how we act when we’re frightened that matters.
When we let fear steal our faith and control our actions, that is a sin. When we don’t love, don’t speak, or don’t do the will of Yehovah because we are scared, we have fallen short of our calling. This is a tool of the devil, and this is walking in fear.
But when our emotions cause us to seek Him, our faith can be strengthened. Scary situations can lead us closer to Yehovah. And it is a wonderful thing to fear Yehovah, and to flee from disobeying Him. This is walking in faith.
The fear of Yehovah is the beginning of wisdom.Psalm 111:10a
For you shall fear Yehovah your Elohim, and He will deliver you from the hand of all enemies.2 Kings 17:39
So next time you feel fear welling up within you, pay attention to what you do, not what you feel. Does the fear drive you toward sin, or do you walk by faith and cling to Messiah despite the frightened feeling?
We’re called to walk in faith, not feel faith. Faith rarely can be felt; it is done. “Faith” in Hebrew can also mean “loyalty” and “steadfastness.” When you are afraid, do you run to Yehovah and remain loyal? Do you steadfastly guard His word? Do you learn Peter’s lesson and keep your eyes on Messiah? Do you keep standing and working for Him, despite what you feel? Do you trust in Him, like David did?
In the day I will fear, I will trust in You.Psalm 56:3+12
In Elohim I have trusted. I will not fear. What can man do to me?
From the ends of the earth, to You I will cry. When my heart is weary, guide me by the Rock that is higher that I.Psalm 61:3
I’ve found that usually when you step out in faith and do what’s right despite the fear, that fear will leave. There are many examples, in the Bible and elsewhere, of righteous and brave people who did what they should despite whatever feelings they had. We should aspire to be like them.
I once read a true story about a ship full of immigrants trying to sneak into the land of Israel in 1947 (before it became a state). In the middle of the night, not far from land, the ship hit a sandbar and tipped onto its side. The waters were too choppy to use lifeboats. But men on shore, waiting to receive the immigrants, grabbed a long rope and swam all the way out to the tipped ship. Using the rope as a lifeline, they brought the weak immigrants from the boat to the shore. Not one life was lost.
Thus says Yehovah, who gives a way in the sea and a path in the strong waters.Isaiah 43:16
Yehovah is our lifeline, our way of getting through the choppy sea. When we see a wave that scares us, what will we do? Will that emotion compel us to act in fear (flail, scream, and be shoved under the water), or to cling more tightly to our Savior and be saved? Again, it’s not the emotion that matters, but the actions.
So try to practice with the little waves. Any time something frightening comes at you, cling harder to Yeshua. And don’t worry if you happen to slip and fall into the water. Yeshua will be there to pick you up, just as He did for Peter.
And after such practice, when harsher waves crash over you, you’ll automatically know what to do. You will keep your eyes on the Savior, cling steadfastly, and walk by faith. Yeshua and His Word are our peace and hope in the midst of great storms. He, our lifeline and security, saves us and guides us through the sea to the shore of the promised land.
And now, thus says Yehovah, your Creator, Jacob, and your Former, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you. I have called your name, you are Mine. When you pass through water, I am with you, and in rivers, they will not wash over you.Isaiah 43:1+2a