Lets look at a specific scripture on fear and faith, or the other side of faith: MARK 4:35-41

Why are you afraid? Asked Jesus of terrified disciples. They struggled to find an answer. The small group was on its way to “the other side”. They had left behind the comparative safety and comfort of the familiar and headed towards a culture and a faith system in which they were the outsiders. The other side was a the place of the Gentiles, one to be avoided by those who wanted a pure and exclusive expression of faith. It was at the insistence of Jesus that the boat left the crowd and made its way across the open water. Midway between safety and expected danger, anxiety took hold of the followers of Jesus and they panicked.

Well like many since, they wondered whether the God who had called them to risk did not care for their safety. When they woke Jesus from sleep, they were not comforted, but reprimanded. Jesus offered no assurance that the danger was gone, and instead demonstrated that he could be trusted to lead them through whatever threat awaited them. Many translations speak of the awe that the disciples felt, but that does not convey the sense of fear that the text intends. The storm abates but the real danger still waits. You cannot walk among those that a lifetime has told you are your enemies and not be afraid. Many believe but fear lives alongside faith in human life, at least in mine i am not afraid to say!

The writers of the Gospel patched together this and other remembered stories in the life of Jesus to equip disciples of another generation to face the challenges of faith. To  those who heard the stories for the first time, the connection would be clear. The challenge to them was how to integrate Gentile and Jew in one community and it was risky. There are all kinds of storms that break out when you take different understandings of firmly held beliefs and try and mold them into one community. We hear the call to set out from a settled place, but become hesitant when anxiety rises within us halfway towards the destination in our Journey of Faith .


Anxiety and fear do not provide helpful resources to navigate difficult passages in the life of faith our weapons are set out in the Promises of God to us. Anxiety is infectious and corrosive, it undermines faith and makes otherwise good people behave in ways that are inward-looking and selfish. Problems get reduced to the hear and now, and the ability to grasp the bigger picture of God’s purposes evaporates. People listen to the words others speak, but do not hear the pain and the wrestling behind the words. When trust breaks down, hope evaporates and disciples panic. First they try harder to do what they have always done : on the lake they pull harder on the oars. Only when that fails do they cry out to the one who can help.

When Jesus questions the faith of disciples, he is not looking for an assurance that they have understood everything they have been taught.

What Jesus is saying is, if you want to get to the other side, if you want to build an integrated community where barriers are broken down, then you have to trust, have Faith in he who called you! Trust only has currency when it is under threat. There is no turning the boat back to the shore. Only the promise that they can depend upon their teacher and friend.

For today’s disciples, the challenge remains to set out across storm -threatened waters and face the challenge of bringing dissonant voices together in harmony. The fear of losing the familiar has to be overcome by the hope of building a better future. To accept risk is a test of our trust in one another and in the God who calls us out of our safe places. We will go on questioning – that is part of being human. Anxiety must give way to a willingness not only to hear the voice of others, but to be changed by what we hear. With God’s help, we will get to the other side.

As always I urge you to get over that fear in your journey of Faith by standing on the promises of Psalms 23! May God’s grace be with you even as you share, comment, follow us and/or join us in our online Community OR better still join us in worship. details on Contact us Page.

God bless you.

Rev Samuel F Sarpong

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