A Spirit Of Fear By Jack Kelley There is no fear in love. But perfect…
By Dr. Mike Murphy
“What was it like to live with Jesus?”, the young boy asked. The man paused, and drew a deep breath as he reflected back in his mind. As the memories raced through his thoughts, he fought back the tears that could have so easily filled his eyes. Those years had been unlike any other, and even today he was still learning just how special they were. He remembered the three and one half years he had travelled the countryside with Christ, the time he spent with Him had gone by in a flash. But in that moment, in that glimpse of time, his life had changed forever. Without him even realizing it, Christ was not only teaching him, but preparing him. Preparing him for the amazing things he would see, and the incredible things the Lord would call him to do. Each step that he would one day take.
Through the years, he had often received news of the horrible deaths of many of his fellow brothers. Of the eleven others he had spent so many days with, only a handful now remained. And in the back of his mind, he knew exactly where his calling would one day lead. He knew that one day soon he would be joining his brothers again. As he reflected back, he could still hear the words that Christ had told those twelve that prepared each for that very day. But as he looked at the crowd that had gathered around him, he knew that today Christ had prepared him for a different purpose. Today was a day of sharing, telling all that could hear him of the love that only Christ could bring this world.
As his mind returned to the young boy, his thoughts again turned to words. As he looked at the youngster and smiled, the words again began to flow from his lips. “I simply do not have the words to tell you what those years were like. A couple of my brothers have tried, but this world cannot hold enough words to explain to you all we saw, and all we heard. But I can tell you they were days unlike any other, wonders and miracles we saw that still leave me amazed to this very day. Things I witnessed and have thought of so many times since. But things so amazing we still find it hard to put into words. If the Lord will grant me wisdom, let me try to tell you about one of those days!”
As he paused to speak, he placed the young man on his knee, and looked into his eyes. “One day I remember like few others. We had all recently heard the sad news that John had been beheaded. Upon hearing this, Jesus had gone off in a boat to pray and to be alone. But the crowds followed Him, so He came back ashore as thousands gathered around Him in an area far away from any of the villages. Despite the loss He felt for John, He knew the people had also lost a beloved man of God. You could look into His eyes and see the love He had for every person that made up that crowd. So even though you could see the hurt in His eyes for John, and could feel just how tired His body was, Jesus put the needs of those He loved above His own. Looking back now, I realize that there was so much He still needed us to know about the kingdom of God. So Jesus did what no other could ever do, He taught us, and healed many around Him that day.”
“As evening approached, the crowd became hungry. I remember as Jesus asked me where food could be bought for the people to eat. We all told Jesus that it was impossible, the cost would be too much and the villages were too far away. As I remember my words, I realize how I should have known that it was a mistake to place impossible and Jesus together. But I have to admit, it was a mistake I would often make again. A mistake I would make again in the next words I spoke.”
“His reply astonished us. He told us to feed them. Some five thousand men, not counting the thousands more women and children that filled the countryside. Again, we made the mistake of telling Him it was impossible. We watched that day as Jesus took the lunch of a young boy, one a lot like you, and feed all that were there. It was years later before I realized, the lesson that day was not about feeding the crowd, the lesson that day was about the twelve of us. Jesus was showing us that day that our trust could not lie in what we saw in this world, that He alone could fulfill our every need!”
“As night fell, Jesus sent us ahead on a boat across the Sea of Galilee. I remember well, as early that morning a storm rose up, and we were afraid for our lives. As we looked out on the sea, we could see an image approaching us. Knowing how far out on the water we were, we became scared at what was coming our way. Many thought it to be a spirit, others began to cry out of fear. But as the fear began to overtake us, we heard a familiar sound coming from the image. It was the voice of Christ, telling us to not be afraid. Jesus was walking on the water towards our boat!”
“Suddenly Peter asked Christ to call out, wanting Christ to tell him to join Him on the water. We heard the words of Christ telling him to come. We watched as Peter stepped out of the boat, and stood on the water facing Christ! We began to see the fear on Peter’s face, as he realized where he was and what he was doing. We watched helplessly as the waves consumed him, and as he began to drown. We heard Peter cry out, ‘Save me Lord!’. We watched in shock and wonderment as Christ reached out and grabbed Peter’s hand, pulling him into the boat. And we marveled as the storm stopped the moment Christ joined us in that boat.”
“Our lives changed that day. What man could have led a simple fisherman to walk on water? What man could reach into the pounding waves and then bring that man to the safety of the boat? And what man could have calmed the storms that roared around us that day? It was at that moment that we realized that no man could do this. Only God Himself could! Young man, I had known Jesus before that day for many days. But it was on that day that I first knew Him as the Christ!”
“Just read the Scriptures!” Were the words Erin’s mother heard, her daughters only request as she lie gasping for breathe. The cancer that plagued ten year old Erin had all but taken her body, but it could not touch her spirit. So Erin’s mother picked up her Bible, and began to read. For four hours on that early October morning, loved ones each took turns reading God’s Word to Erin. And through the pain of the cancer that she had battled for three years, Erin listened to the words.
Through the words she read, Erin’s mother prayed for another miracle. She even placed her Bible of the floor, and stepped on it, literally showing God that she stood on His Word. But as the hours past, God spoke to Erin’s mother, and her prayer for a miracle soon became a prayer of “Thy Will”. Fifty-one hours later, the Lord called Erin home, to forever be at peace by His side.
Those who were present that night, were amazed by Erin’s faith. Even through great pain and struggle, she still turned to God, leaning on her faith in Christ. At six years old, Erin had accepted Christ into her life. A year later, she was diagnosed with a life threatening form of cancer. But four months after the initial diagnosis, a second scan found young Erin cancer free. The doctors told her that what had happened was impossible. Erin knew different, even at a young age she knew that nothing was impossible with God.
Erin was not content with just her family knowing, she wanted the world to know what God had done. She began speaking at local churches, sharing her testimony and her incredible faith. She had but one desire, for all to know the hope and joy she had found through Christ. Even when the cancer returned, Erin continued to give praise to the Lord.
During those last minutes of Erin’s life, a peace fell over her mother. She remembered the words that Erin had told her when she was six, having just received Christ. Erin had told her that she could not wait to get to Heaven. She told her mother of a love she felt from Jesus unlike any other. As Erin passed, her mother knew this was a love her little girl would always feel. For the ten short years she was on this earth, her mother had watched as the Lord had used Erin in the most powerful of ways. A child who had the heart of Job!
You may ask yourself, what could Peter and young Erin possibly have in common? Steps! Both were willing to step out on faith! Peter had the faith to make an impossible first step, and Erin had the faith to trust Christ with her last step. Both showed us what the Lord could do with just one step. With one step of faith, God can change the world!
Through all his faults and all his doubts, Peter was the only disciple willing to step out of the boat, to make a step of faith. And what an amazing step it was! Through one step, Christ showed the world that when we focus on Him, anything is possible. When our eyes are on Christ, and our heart desires the Lord, there is nothing He cannot use us to accomplish. And like Peter, even when we fall, Christ is there. Ready to pick us back up, so we can make that next step for Him.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” That one step from Peter completely defines this amazing verse! When we focus upon Christ, the assurance and conviction of our faith becomes clear. And those who watched from the boat that day, were no longer blind to their faith. It immediately became clear that Christ was who He said He was, and all power rest in His hands.
Erin’s step was no less amazing. At a time most of us would falter, Erin’s focus was clear, her eyes were on Christ. Her last step was like Peter’s first step. Our Savior right in front of her, calling her forward, bringing her closer to Him. And just as Peter’s story and his words ring in the ears of most of us today, so do Erin’s. Even though most of you do not realize it, you have heard Erin’s story many times!
If you listen to Christian music, often you have turned on the radio and heard the words, “As the thunder rolls, I barely hear You whisper through the rain. ‘I’m with you’. And as Your mercy falls, I raise my hands and praise the God who gives and takes away.” Each time you hear these words, you are being witnessed to by Erin. The song “Praise You In This Storm”, was written about a young girl who was dying of cancer, a girl who never lost sight of Jesus. A young girl named Erin. What a step Erin took! She showed us that although the verses of our song may not be long, they can be sung clear and loud. Erin sang her song with a shout for our Savior!
As you read these words, I ask but one thing of each of you. Bring your focus on Jesus, get out of your chair, and take just one step! Make one step for Christ! With just one step, Christ can change the world. With just one step, Christ will use you in ways you never thought possible. With just one step, He will use you to reach people you never thought you could ever reach. With just one step, He can bring peace to your greatest storms. Christ can do all things…..with just one step!
Praying each of you will make just one step toward Christ!