A Bible story just for me: Anxiety

A Bible story just for me: Anxiety

When I didn’t feel safe anymore

Feelings are not facts. Yet sometimes those feelings of anxiety are so real. Sometimes they are crippling. They keep you glued to your bed in the morning. They can pull the safe and secure footing right out from under you so that you’re drowning even though your safety and security is right in front of you.

Anxiety can be a good thing when it triggers our fight or flight mechanisms, but for roughly 1 out of 5 people who suffer from clinical anxiety, this is something far more than fight or flight. This is a debilitating disease that threatens the everyday ability to exist.

For the other 4 out of 5 people who don’t suffer from clinical anxiety, sympathy can be a challenge. They say, “Why don’t you just snap out of it? Stop being afraid. Start looking at reality.” But it’s not that easy.

Peter’s anxiety

Read Matthew 14:22-33. Imagine that you are one of the “4 out of 5” disciples in the boat wondering why Peter is sinking even with his safety and security, his Savior, right in front of him. From that viewpoint, consider the following questions:

  • Peter is always the bold one. Talk first, think second—that’s Peter. Are you surprised by Peter’s request (14:28)?
  • Do you envision Peter jumping out of the boat or taking a step like it was thin ice?
  • What is your reaction to Peter’s first few steps?
  • Do you understand why Peter began to sink, or do you think he should have known better?
  • React to Jesus’ question, “Why did you doubt?”
  • Was there any point at which Peter was not actually safe?

Peter needed his Savior. He needed Jesus to rescue him. Peter’s need became abundantly clear as he cried out, “Lord, save me!” (v. 30).

Jesus’ care

Yet even as Peter cried out, he was still safe with his Savior as Jesus remained on the water as if on solid ground and reached down for him. The Savior responded to Peter’s cry.

Feelings are not facts, yet all too often, the feelings within cloud the realities of the heaven that is ours through faith in Christ. Then anxiety sets in. But Jesus still reaches down to you. If you are the “1 out of 5,” Jesus will not take his eyes off of you. He supplies help through friends and family, pastors and teachers, medical and mental health professionals. He cares for you, as he always has.

If you are one of the “4 out of 5,” be that friend and neighbor. Remember that Jesus will not take his eyes off of you either.

Whichever you are, cast all your anxiety on him and see how he cares for you. And as he does, don’t take your eyes off of him.

Whether you are a “1 out of 5” or a “4 out of 5,”

Complete this sentence:

This account shows me that Jesus was _____________ FOR ME.

May this be a reminder to you of the reality of your loving and caring Savior.

This is the fifth article in a six-part series on applying biblical narratives in our lives.


Extra content:

Greg Lyon provides some additional answers for the above Bible study.

Peter is always the bold one. Talk first, think second—that’s Peter. Are you surprised by Peter’s question?
I can’t imagine that I would have even considered asking Jesus if I could walk on water. The shock of seeing him walk on water would have been enough. But with Peter as the leader, I suppose nothing shocks me with him anymore. But could you honestly have thought that Peter would have been able to take a single step on the water? The irrational nature of this request just makes it absurd. And yet faith clings to something irrational. On the word and promise of Jesus, Peter steps out of the boat. Is it any less rational that the God-man who became sin for us and gave his life on a cross invites us to believe?

Do you envision Peter jumping out of the boat or taking a step like it was thin ice?
As bold as Peter was to ask such a question, I still envision him questioning with fear and trepidation whether Jesus meant it when he said, “Come.” Is Jesus trustworthy when he speaks? Of course! But look how carefully we walk when what he expects of us doesn’t make any sense.

What is your reaction to Peter’s first few steps?
Pure shock! But should it be? Jesus said, “Come.” What else would happen? And yet we remain shocked when God makes good on his word as if to say, “I didn’t think you’d really do it!” Will shock be the reaction when we take our first steps in the mansions of heaven? No. That’s where faith meets its reality, and we say, “Lord, I knew you’d do it!”

Do you understand why Peter began to sink, or do you think he should have known better?
This is such a personal moment between Peter and Jesus, but I think I might have wondered if Jesus slipped up. Obviously, Peter can’t do this on his own. Obviously, Jesus is allowing this to happen. It might have looked as if Jesus’ power broke for just a second. But Jesus never lost control of the situation. What a blessing for us to know that in our trials, Jesus never takes his eyes off of us.

React to Jesus’ question, “Why did you doubt?”
What answer could be given except simply this: I have no excuse. God’s law has a way of stripping us bare. And how often Jesus approaches his people with a question that leads the individual to realize their own needs. Peter had no excuse—rational though the reason might be—except that he doubted his Savior’s ability to save him.

Was there any point at which Peter was not actually safe?
Despite all the evidence (the wind and the waves), at no point did Peter cease to be safe. Jesus was in control the whole time.

Author: Gregory C. Lyon
Volume 107, Number 05
Issue: May 2020

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