“RISK AND FEAR”                                           By Pastor YAU

Text: Mark 4:35-41                                              July 6, 2008.

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)   A risky experience: Reporter Denis Boyles knew it would be a challenging experience to interview a man on a roller coaster----especially when the interview was to take place during his attempt to set a world’s record for continuous riding. After several rounds of ride on the track, Denis was so overcome with fear he could hardly talk. Then the man showed him how to use his body and feet to lean on the loops, twists and turns. Writing in AARP Magazine, Boyle explained how the instruction helped him took away the fear. It also taught him a lesson about risks and fear. The roller coaster makes us feel risky though it was quite safe. In fact, driving to the amusement part for the interview posed a far greater risk of injury. Risk and fear are often times confused.

2)   A fearful experience: After very busy ministries in healing and teaching of many important subjects to the crowds and the twelve disciples mostly in parables an chapter 3 and 4, Jesus asked his disciples to go over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. While Jesus was sleeping on a cushion in the stern, a furious storm came upon the boat and nearly swamped ir. The disciples were fearful and woke Jesus up and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we got drown?” Jesus rebuked the wind and told the waves to calm down and the wind died down and the waves were completely calmed. The disciples were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this man? Even the wind and waves obey him.” (Mark 4:41)

 

GETTING TO KNOW “RISK”:

1)   The definition of “risk”: According to Encyclopedic Dictionary, “risk” means hazard, chance of danger, bad consequences, loss, offending against propriety. The adjective of risk is “risky” which means hazardous, full of danger and loss or bad consequences. Risk is the probability of danger, loss or bad results.

2)   The nature of “risk”: Risk is not perception. It is possible outcome or consequence of choices and actions. Many of the choices we make or actions we take involve risk factors such as driving or participation in sports activities. Part of the nature of risk is beyond our control such as the risk of investment.

3)   The degree of risk: Even though risk is largely beyond our control, the degree of risk is. Using investment as an example: the degrees of risk are closely related to the kind of investment one choose to put his money into. There are many kinds of business on the market some are more risky than others with higher possibility of gain. Others are less risky but also post less chances of profits. Financial advisors will plan for clients based on the level of absorbance on market volatility. This may apply to people whom you get close with, community where you live and life style you choose to live, just to list a few.

4)   The causes of risk: While there are risks we hardly have control or must take such as driving to work, the kind of choices we make or actions we take are closely related to the risk we take. Everyday, people make risky choices and take risky actions in life, like driving recklessly, and suffer their consequences.

5)   The benefits of risk: Although there are many negative effects of risk, risk is not all bad. If we are aware of the risk and its consequences of our choices and actions, we may make choices and take actions to avoid some of the risks and reduce the chances to suffering consequence. The more we know the risk factors of our choices and actions, the less we may get us into..

 

GETTING TO KNOW “FEAR”:

1)   The definition of “fear”: Again, the Encyclopedic Dictionary defines “fear” as a painful emotion caused by imaginary danger of evil, a state of alarm, dread and anxiety or fright. Usually fear arises due to unknown condition or environment.

2)   The nature of fear: Fear is an emotional feeling of perceived or imaginary danger condition or situation. It may or may not associate with facts. Although knowledge of facts may reduce the degree of fear it still exists because of emotional condition.

3)   The degree of fear: Just as people are different in physical state, people are different in their emotional states. Some were born easier to feel fear while others are less fearful facing similar situation. Causes of fear are hard to be listed because different people have different things they are fear of. In some cases, knowledge and past experience may help to reduce the degree of fear; we all have our particular areas that trigger our fear emotion.

4)   The causes of fear: No one may know all the reasons or causes why and how people have fear. Fear has to do with emotional state which is related to physiological condition of a person. Lack of knowledge and life experience may contribute to fear. Some fears are cause by emotional condition. Fear may also be the results of unfamiliar situation.

5)   The cure of fear: There is no complete cure of fear in anyone. We are all born with the ability to have fear. No one is completely exempted from this emotional condition. But past experience and knowledge of life situation may help to reduce, not cure, fear.

 

HOW TO CONQUER FEAR? (Mark 4:35-41)

1)   Do what Jesus said: That day when evening came, Jesus said to his disciples: Let’s go to the other side.” (4:35)After a busy day of ministry among huge crowds, Jesus told the disciples to cross the Sea of Galilee so they have some rest. It is His idea to cross the Sea and the disciples were all obedient to His command. That is exactly how they got in that fearful storm and their boat was almost swamped. We are often encouraged to be obedient to God’s command and are assured of His blessings in peace and easy life if we will just follow His word. How do you explain this situation? But the story doesn’t stop here.

2)   Bringing Jesus along: “Leaving the crowds behind, they took him along as he was in the boat.” (4:36)If you are being honest like most of us, there are not many times and places we are going to do things that we love to bring Jesus along. Most of us would like to see Him at church on Sunday morning. Too often we like to have private life going places and do things without Jesus looking over our shoulders.

3)   Facing the unexpected: “A furious storm came up and the waves broke over the boat so it was nearly swamped.” (4:37)How would anyone expect that when we listen to Jesus, do exactly what he wants us to do and have Him with us in our team, would encounter furious storms that our lives are at stake? We were told many times that as long as we are obedient to Him, do exactly what He asks, keep ourselves close to Him and we will be safe, right? Why would we encounter storms, problems in relationships, terminal illness, loss of jobs and other undesirable life situations when we do right and being good? Why can’t God prevent all these from happening? Well, just read on.

4)   How could Jesus sleep in this? “Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.” (4:38)That is exactly most of us would ask: Is God in sleep when we need Him the most? How could Jesus in deep sleep when our life is about to be swamped? Could God keep awake for a while when we are in trouble? Again, read on.

5)   Does God really care? “The disciples woke Him up and said to Him: Teacher, don’t you care if we drawn?” (4:38b)This same question was asked millions of time throughout 2,000 years of Christian history: Does God really care when we are in grave danger or deep trouble? To have danger and trouble including the most fearful ones is part of life to anyone and God did not promise us to spare us from them. We are in this world full of evil, manmade or natural. We should not blame God when we are in any of them. We should not treat God as secret agent or body guard who would prevent bad things from happening to us.

6)   Can He do anything? “He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the waves: Quiet! Be still! Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.” (4:39)Whatever our attitude toward God may be or how bad we blame God of what we are facing, when we ask God for help in time of trouble, He is always there and is able to do something about it. Jesus removed the source of their fear: the storm and the waves, the roots of their trouble. Who else can cause the nature to obey him? Why are there people who say it doesn’t matter whom you believe as long as you have faith in something or someone? We believe in the Creator of all things including the winds and waves. Only this God can do something to save us from the fear of storms.

7)   Why are you so afraid? “He said to them: Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (4:40)The question Jesus asked His disciples should be the same question we need to ask ourselves: Why are we so afraid if we truly believe in Jesus, His love and power when we are in trouble or danger? Do we still have no faith in His love and power that He can do something to save us? After all these years claiming to be His disciples, do we truly trust Him and his love?

 

CONCLUSION:

1)      Knowing risk and fear: do not confuse risk with fear. Use common sense and God given wisdom to discern risk factors before making choices and taking actions. Making high risk decision is never a wise choice. Calculate the consequence before make decisions.

2)      Knowing who is on board: No one may predict what may come tomorrow. Never launch life without asking Jesus to go with you. Never step into life by yourself. Trust His love and power to save you from fear of danger, real or imagined.

3)      Knowing your own needs: If the seasoned fishermen cold face storm they couldn’t handle, don’t be so self confident that you can handle everything life may bring you. You need Jesus to be your Savior, your protector, your anchor in time of storm. Today is the day to ask Him into your heart. Ask Him to forgive your sins and to direct your life without fear.