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When faith and fear battle

May 16, 2024

Daily Scripture

Matthew 14:27-34, Psalm 107:26-31

Matthew 14
27 Just then Jesus spoke to them, “Be encouraged! It’s me. Don’t be afraid.”
28 Peter replied, “Lord, if it’s you, order me to come to you on the water.”
29 And Jesus said, “Come.”
Then Peter got out of the boat and was walking on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when Peter saw the strong wind, he became frightened. As he began to sink, he shouted, “Lord, rescue me!”
31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him, saying, “You man of weak faith! Why did you begin to have doubts?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind settled down.
33 Then those in the boat worshipped Jesus and said, “You must be God’s Son!”
34 When they had crossed the lake, they landed at Gennesaret.

Psalm 107
26 The waves went as high as the sky;
    they crashed down to the depths.
The sailors’ courage melted at this terrible situation.
27     They staggered and stumbled around like they were drunk.
    None of their skill was of any help.
28 So they cried out to the Lord in their distress,
    and God brought them out safe from their desperate circumstances.
29 God quieted the storm to a whisper;
    the sea’s waves were hushed.
30 So they rejoiced because the waves had calmed down;
    then God led them to the harbor they were hoping for.
31 Let them thank the Lord for his faithful love
    and his wondrous works for all people.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

“Literally, Jesus says, ‘I am’;… the activity in the context supports an allusion to Jesus’ deity (cf. Exodus 3:14, where the same Greek phrase used in…the pre-Christian Greek translation of the OT, is used here also).” * Peter showed his very human mix of faith and doubt: “Lord, if it’s you, order me to come to you on the water.” It worked—he was striding across the water! Then he noticed the strong wind, fear took over, and he lost focus on Jesus.

  • Psalm 107:26-31’s picture of God quieting a storm on the sea had particular power for the Hebrew people, for whom the sea’s tumult was a symbol of fearful chaos only God could tame (cf. Psalm 74:13-17, Psalm 89:9-12). Our world still faces many “storms” (e.g. wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, mass shootings, untreatable illnesses). Have you seen God bring peace in any way during such storms and their aftermath? If so, list ways you’ve seen or still see God work for good in tragic situations.
  • Identify one big life “storm” you’ve personally had to live through. Did you want Jesus to just make the problem(s) go away? Did you have any sense Jesus was with you even if the storm itself continued? Scott Krippayne sang, “Sometimes He calms the storm, And other times He calms His child.” ** In which of those ways has Jesus most often supported you in life’s storms? When have you had the privilege of helping to share Jesus’ calm with someone else amid a storm?


Lord Jesus, at times I’m riding high, walking toward you in faith! At times my fears distract me and take my eyes off you. Remind me that your love and salvation are always in reach, even when I feel as though I’m sinking. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Mikiala Tennie

Mikiala Tennie

Mikiala Tennie serves as the Student Discipleship Program Director with Resurrection Students. She has nearly 20 years of volunteer and professional ministry experience and loves walking alongside and encouraging others in their spiritual journey. Mikiala is blessed to be an adoptive aunt and godmother to many kiddos and lives with her 10-pound Yorkie, KiKi Okoye Tennie.

I grew up in South Florida where storms are a regular occurrence. After moving there from Chicago, I remember my mom being so amused that it seemed to rain every day at 4pm in the summer. Sometimes it was just rain, other times it would be an intense system that brough dark skies, lightning, thunder, and the type of rain that makes it impossible to see even a few feet in front of you.

Floridians are also notorious for not batting an eye when we hear that we might be in the path of a hurricane—a massive storm that brings all manner of stormy weather. Sure, supplies are purchased, and windows are shuttered, but the vast majority of us hunker down with our snacks and choose to ride out the storm rather than trying to escape it.

Storms like those were things I grew accustomed to, but the kind of storms we face in life whether medical, mental health, emotional, familial, financial…those are storms we don’t get to prepare for. There are no category 3 hurricane impact windows for the human mind and soul. When the storms of life rage, it can feel like we’re extremely vulnerable and susceptible to harm.

I didn’t have my first panic attack until after my mom passed away suddenly. Trauma like that can be a trigger for anxiety and symptoms that stem from anxiety. All of a sudden, the storm of grief and loss gave way to a different kind of storm—one brewing just under the surface. When something like that happens, it can mean that situations or instances that would ordinarily cause you fear or discomfort, begin to cause panic attacks.

On the one-year anniversary of my mom’s passing, I was trying everything in my power to distract myself. But I ended up encountering a phobia that sent me into a tailspin. My first panic attack. I was unfamiliar with this type of storm. The kind that makes you feel vulnerable in a foreign and heightened way. I was scared, exhausted, grieving, anxious, and in that moment, I wasn’t sure what was happening to me or how to make it stop. Thankfully, in the middle of all of that, a friend saw that I was in distress—I wasn’t just stressed out about the situation—I was currently and actively in distress.

She grabbed my hand and pulled me into a tight hug, and she didn’t let go until my breathing regulated, my heart rate leveled out, and my head stopped feeling like the walls were closing in on me. In that moment she walked into my storm and stayed with me until it died down. In that moment, she was Jesus to me. She leaned in to my distress and her hug was synonymous with Jesus’ words to the disciples, “Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I’m here.”

I don’t know what type of storm you might be facing—or whether or not it’s a rainstorm, thunderstorm, or full-blown hurricane. But whatever it is, may you be reminded today that in the storm, Christ comes to us. Our God does not watch us endure from the safety of the seashore; our God is He who walked on water in the midst of a storm. May you feel God’s presence in whatever storm you are facing—may you experience Christ himself through the love and care of the Church we’ve been given.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (p. 8448). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
** Lyric from “Sometimes He Calms the Storm.” Songwriters: Benton Kevin Stokes, Tony W. Wood © Universal Music Publishing Group, Capitol Christian Music Group.