Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Valiantly, For Our People"

As we grow older and mature spiritually, our temptations to fear often directly involve not ourselves, but rather loved ones and others for whom we have responsibility.

"And the same day, when the even was come, He saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took Him even as He was in the ship. And there were also with Him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And He was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake Him, and say unto Him, Master, carest Thou not that we perish? And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And He said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?" (Mark 4:35-40).

Having affirmed a successful journey - "Let us pass over to the other side" - the Lord Jesus Christ slept through a raging storm on a sea known for raging storms. Fearful disciples had to awaken Him, and after rebuking the storm, he rebuked His disciples for having "no faith." The Lord Jesus did not succumb to the temptation presented by His disciple's jeopardy and fear to Himself become frantic. He rather led from confidence in His Father's perfect wisdom and care, and in the knowledge that He would have done His followers no favors by joining them in being afraid.

This story offers one of the greatest lessons on leadership we can ever consider. A fearless Christ first showed by His sleeping example that all was well. He then dealt with the storm according to the means at hand - the power of God - not because it actually threatened jeopardy, but rather to still His disciples' troubled hearts. Then He used the episode to teach a lesson, and challenge the disciples to actually believe that which they professed to believe, or more literally, to trust the One whom they believed.

The Word of God unequivocally declares that we shall "pass over to the other side." "He that hath begun a good work in you shall perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). We may get wet and windblown during the journey, and storms can be decidedly unpleasant. But we shall pass over to the other side. As those with spiritual responsibility for loved ones, fellow believers and ministries, we must so strengthen our hearts in the Lord and His truth that we lead, as did our Lord, from rest, peace and assurance. Indeed, if we attempt to lead from fear, we will inevitably lead to fear. "Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people" (I Chronicles 19:13).

Let us look to our Captain, the Captain of our salvation. He has already lived a lifetime facing and overcoming far more challenge than will ever confront us. And how He overcame, even to the degree that his spiritual enemies bear upon their heads the imprint of nail-scarred Feet suffered when He trounced them upon His exit from death and the grave (Colossians 2:15). Their tempests may still blow, of course, and God sometimes allows us and our loved ones to feel harsh winds and great waves formed by our enemies. However, no devilish or earthly storm can touch us apart from our Heavenly Father's allowance. Experienced believers know that the great truth of the tempest is David's declaration: "Fire and hail, snow and vapor, stormy wind fulfilling His Word" (Psalm 148:8). We are fortified and strengthened by such remembrance, and emboldened to lead more confidently from the faith of knowing that we shall pass over to the other side. We shall, regardless of the winds and waves which may crash upon our ship. The Lord's tomb remains empty, His heavenly throne remains occupied, and the truth resounds forevermore throughout Heaven and earth that Jesus Christ is Lord. No storm can ever change this reality, and as we lead from rest and peace, we shall lead our beloved to rest and peace regardless of how tossed their ship may be.

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
(John 16:33)

"And Abiathar showed David that Saul had slain the LORD's priests. And David said unto Abiathar, I knew it that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul: I have occasioned the death of all the persons of thy father's house. Abide thou with me, fear not: for he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life: but with me thou shalt be in safeguard."
(I Samuel 22:21-23)

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