When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Silence! Be still!" Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, "Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?" Mark 4: 39-40 (NLT)
Lastly, in response to the disciples asking why they could not cast a demon out, Jesus replied:
"You don't have enough faith," Jesus told them. "I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it would move. Nothing would be impossible." Matthew 17: 20 (NLT)
Nothing is meant to be impossible in our lives beloved. The storms distract us because we lose faith in who God is in our lives. The storms terrify us because we forget who God has been in our lives. We cannot cast out the things that plague us in our lives because our faith forgets the lions and bears God has already delivered into our hands. Faith is not distracted because the things that seek to distract us are powerless before our God. Romans 8:28 is only real if you believe it.
The last lesson from the Matthew verses today is this is always about what thoughts dominate our minds. Fear is the entertainment of a thought. An irrational thought, but a thought. Note that Jesus is teaching us here that it is the mind of the unbeliever that has these thoughts dominate their mind. We have been set free from such futile thinking beloved! God tells us where our focus needs to be in Paul's letter to the Church at Philippi:
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me--everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4: 8-9 (NLT)
Note the phrase "fix your thoughts." Never forget that this is a process. It is a conscious effort to decide what will dominate our thinking. And what is the end result? The God of peace will be with us. Fear and anxiety is the absence of the peace of God. And it all starts with possessing the grateful heart George Washington spoke about centuries ago. That grateful heart will focus us on the things of God. We will remember all God has already done for us. It will focus us on our problem solver instead of our problems. Instead of the storm around us we will focus on the fact that God is still in our boat. So let us think today about the things we should be thankful for every day of our lives, not just November 26th.
I am thankful that my name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life. That I have the promise of eternal life now. That the God who created the entire universe by a single spoken sentence would care enough about me to send His only Son to die as an atonement for my sin-sick soul. I am thankful for my calling, for being assured that my life has a purpose to fulfill. I am thankful for the bears and lions in my life which God has already delivered into my hands. I am thankful that no matter how big the giant is in front of me, that my God is bigger. I am thankful that as long as I seek His kingdom and righteousness first, then He will supply all of my needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. I am thankful because no matter how deep my valley may go, He is with me. His rod and staff they comfort me and I am only going through the valley. I am thankful because He prepares a table for me in the presence of my enemies and that my cup will overrun with the blessings of God. That surely one day, I will see Him in glory and spend all the days of my life dwelling in the house of the Lord.