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To The Fearful…

Captain Justin Caldwell shares hope from the Word as we navigate through these times together. By Captain Justin Caldwell

The scene happens a thousand times a day all over the world. Boarding pass in hand. Carry-on bag tucked away. Seatbelt pulled tight. You sit aboard a monstrous machine filled with jet fuel created to burn much hotter than any average gasoline. Your plane takes off and the initial nervous tension that had been coursing through your body during take-off subsides as you begin to coast through the atmosphere at 575 miles per hour. You begin to settle into a good read from the book or magazine you had stashed away.

And then it happens.

A sudden alarm above you warns you to fasten your already-fastened seatbelt as you hear a word that you only ever hear when you are thousands of miles above the ground—turbulence.  The stewardess begins to wheel the beverage cart back to a safe place and she straps herself into a seatbelt that looks much safer than the one around your waist. All of a sudden, the plane drops. You hear gasps and shrieks as a fellow frightened passenger white knuckles his arm rest.  Fear, all of a sudden, possesses you. Another drop and your stomach races to your throat and your heart pommels your chest.

You begin to think thoughts that seem ridiculous once you arrive safely on the ground and yet the question seems quite legitimate in the middle of such a fearful experience, “Is this how my life will end?”

We know that the disciples were in an experience where they believed that they were about to die in Mark 4:35. The sea of Galilee was known for its sudden and ferocious storms and the disciples were most likely in a small open fishing boat with Jesus that day when one of those storms suddenly brought the disciples to a real sense of fear and desperation. They look back to the rear of the boat and to their shock and dismay, they find Jesus sleeping as “Easy As Sunday Morning,” as the song goes.

They woke Jesus and asked Him, (Mark 4:38, NIV) “Teacher, don’t You care if we drown?”

1: Yes, Jesus Does Care

During these days of uncertainty and indiscriminate fear, you may find yourself reluctantly wondering in your own prayers, “Jesus, don’t You care?”

Jesus don’t You care that hundreds of thousands, if not many more people could die when this is all said and done? Jesus, don’t You care that our economy is crumbling before our very eyes and millions are losing their jobs and livelihoods which could bring about unfathomable poverty and desperation? Jesus, don’t You care that people are shuttering in fear and anxiety that is crippling people by the multitudes?

This is where we could have a theological conversation about the “Problem of Pain” that great minds have pondered for millennia, of which there are some very helpful answers. But life usually teaches us that these answers often fall on deaf ears when someone is possessed by fear, or hurting from loss, or believe they are about to drown in their circumstances.

It is best to prove that Jesus cares by pointing to the cross where Jesus went to show how much He cares. It is in reflecting on the pain, humility and utter vulnerability where the beaten and shredded God of the universe hung naked while dripping the proof of His passion to see a world ripped apart by sin to be made whole again.

John Mark McMillin has just released a new album and one of his songs called “The Road, The Rocks, and The Weeds” speaks this truth so beautifully:

And tell me of the God you know who bleeds
And what to tell my daughter
When she asks so many questions
And I fail to fill her heaviness with peace
When I’ve got no answers
For hurt knees or cancers
But a Savior who suffers them with me

2: Faith Is Key

Jesus woke and spoke to the wind and waves and there was a “great calm” in verse 39. Luke’s version of what happens next was that Jesus asked the disciples, “Where is your faith?” according to the ESV translation. This question brings new meaning of faith to me. It’s as if Jesus was making faith into something that could run and hide like a pet or person—here one moment and then gone the next.

Faith is key in all of Scripture. We find that God reveals Himself as One who is in search of those who have faith in Him. This storm was a great teaching moment for Jesus. The disciples were full of faith when things were going well, like watching Jesus perform miracles before their very eyes. Where did their faith go? Jesus knew that they were going to need their faith even more when they would soon be brought before courts, flogged, thrown into prisons and, for most of them, martyred for their faith.

Sometimes when storms start intensifying and turbulence is especially harsh, our faith can be found running away from us as fast as our fears are running towards us. It’s in these times that we can pray as the disciples did in Luke 17:5 (NIV) when they told Jesus, “Increase our faith.” Jesus replied in the next verse: “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”

3: Jesus Is with You in the Storm

There are over 8,000 promises in the Bible but there are none that are as frequent as one in particular. Five important words that we should carve on our shield of faith and hold ever so close to our heart:

I. Will. Be. With. You.

Jesus was there in the boat with the disciples—Jesus, who doesn’t just have peace, but who IS peace. He is the Prince of Peace and was there when water and light and wind were spoken into existence. He who talks winds into stillness and with a word, a billion galaxies burst into being.

Much of the world feels alone and isolated in their fear during these days. God wants to remind you that you are not alone. Remember Jesus’s very last words promised to His disciples in Matthew 28:20 (NIV): “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

May you know that Jesus cares about your fear and pain today—we need only to look towards the cross for proof. May you hold close to your faith in difficult days and even ask God to increase your faith as you trust Him with all of your life. And may you know the God who has demonstrated how far He would go to be close to us and that He is indeed with you during these days and all the days of your life.

Download our PDF of three takeaways from this article to share with your friends and family.

Have you read other articles in this series? Titles include “To The Student…” and “To The High School/College Senior…” Look out for “To the Onlooker” by emergency room nurse Meghan Hodgson, coming next week. You won’t want to miss this!


Captain Justin Caldwell, along with his wife, Evelyn currently serve as Divisional Youth Secretaries in the Massachusetts Division. He has been a Salvation Army officer for 12 years.  He is a proud father to 2 amazing boys Jordan 5 and Jonah 3.  His passions are family, ministry, guitar, and the occasional round of golf.

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