I love being around water.  I grew up in Southern Indiana which is separated from Louisville, Kentucky by the Ohio River.  My dad worked on the river when I was a kid, so the water is present in a most of my memories from childhood. The river is usually calm and still.  You can see the riverbank where the water ends on the other side that is lined with towering buildings that create the Louisville skyline.  The city lights on the other side gleam off of the water and give light to our side of the river. 

I just returned from a trip to the beach. I observed how different the ocean is from the river while I was there.  The water wavered somewhere between an emerald green and a sapphire blue. The water was so clear that swimmers could see fish and seaweed around their feet.  The ocean is so vast that you cannot see the other side.  The water appears to stretch on endlessly until it turns into the skyline on the horizon.  With no skyscrapers on the other side, the only glimmer of light is offered by the moon.  There seems to be a continuous rotation of waves crashing onto the sandy shore and then the foamy water sliding back out to sea.

I was captivated by the waves this year.  I was reminded of the story of Jesus calming the storm in Mark 4:35-41.  The NIV describes the storm as a  “furious squall”.  A squall is a storm that comes on suddenly and produces violent wind gusts that can cause powerful, destructive waves. The disciples on the boat were terrified of the storm. They woke Jesus up from his sleep. Jesus calms the storm, and then he asks the disciples “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”  

Those questions have  been swimming around in my heart and mind this week. I am fearful of many things. Some of them are legitimate fears, but usually they are thoughts that I have let grow out of control and consume my mind. The majority of those thoughts begin with “what if…” While those what ifs are possible they are not usually probable. However, I tend to run with the possible until it grows so big that I can no longer see what is probable and fear is the end result. This week as I listened to the waves, I heard the whisper…”Why are you so afraid?” Is my faith so small that I don’t think God has control of every single detail of my life?

There is a song we have been singing at church recently called “Peace Be Still”. The chorus goes:

“Peace be still
Say the word and I will
Set my feet upon the sea 
Till I’m dancing in the deep
Oh peace be still
You are here so it is well
Even when my eyes can’t see 
I will trust the voice that speaks”

© 2017, Hope Darst/Mia Fieldes/Andrew Holt

I love the visual of “set my feet upon the sea till I’m dancing in the deep.” I picture freedom and abandon. Fear never leads to freedom. It is a prison that holds us back. It keeps us from trying new things. We can never live uninhibited when fear is controlling us. Fear keeps us in what we perceive to be safe. We will never venture out into the deep when fear is controlling us.

I have decided to work on changing my what ifs. Instead of asking “What if _____ and filling in the blank with any number of bad things that could happen, I am going to ask “What if I trust God?” I want to live my life dancing in the deep with Jesus instead of hanging out in the boat with fear.