When you get faced with a fearful situation we are controlled by that fear, all we can focus on is the fear or what we are afraid of. Our focus is moved from God and everything else. Focus in itself is a whole new topic and can result in a new series, but for now I am only going to be applying it to fear. The definition of focus is the centre of interest or activity, the state or quality of having or producing clear visual definition, adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly or pay particular attention to. Knowing that in this instance we are referring to focusing the mind and not necessarily referring to vision, I included the definitions for having clear vision as well.
My mother always says what you focus on will overwhelm you. If you tell a child trying to balance on something, “don’t fall’, what will his/her focus be… falling, even if you say “don’t”. The same applies to life. If you focus on what you shouldn’t do, it is more than likely that you will do it. Similar to someone saying, “don’t think about a pink elephant”, your focus – the pink elephant. When I see a snake, and I am overcome by fear, all I focus on is this fear. My mind goes snake, snake, SNAKE. I focus so much on it that the fear gets worse and worse. I get overwhelmed by the snake and by my fear. The same applies to when we focus on something positive – if you focus on God, you will be overwhelmed by His presence. How awesome is that!?
In Matthew 14 verses 22 to 33 it tells us of when Peter walked on water. After the multiplication of the bread and the fish, Jesus told His disciples that while He is sending the people away they had to get in the boat and go before Him to the other side. After that Jesus went up the mountain to pray. By that evening, the boat was already in the middle of the sea in a storm. Jesus walked on the sea to them. Verse 26 to 32 (NKJV):
“And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. “
Even the disciples got scared when the storm was around them and when they saw Jesus in the storm, doing the impossible by walking on the water, they cried out for fear and doubted that it was Him. How often do we do that, we are so focused on the storm/circumstances around us that when we see Jesus (if we see Jesus) doing the impossible, we doubt. Peter wanted proof that it was Jesus and for him to be able to believe, he wanted Jesus to tell him to walk on the water. Peter got out of the boat, focussed on Jesus, and he walked on the water. Peter was doing the impossible, overcoming his situation, overcoming his fear. But the moment when he lost his focus and he looked away from Jesus, he was fearful again.
When the storms are around us, we are afraid. We get lost in the situation, losing control and losing focus. Jesus is always there, standing in the middle of the sea in the storm with you, always knocking on the door. Revelations 3 verse 20 (NKJV):
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”
He is always ready, always waiting, wanting to be there with us and dine with us. Is that not such an amazing thing to know? Jesus is standing there in the storm with us, He just wants us to open up the door for Him and focus on Him. I know that in some households dinner might not always have the most relaxed, calm atmosphere, but if someone were to say, ‘come dine with me’, it sounds like a calm and relaxed dinner, away from the chaos or away from your comfort zone. I looked it up online and the definition of dine is to have the main meal of the day, away from your house like in a restaurant or hotel. The way I see it, Jesus wants to spend time with you away from your situation, in a different setting than what you are in. When you are in a restaurant, you don’t have to cook yourself, your dinner gets served. All you have to do is open the door and dine with Jesus, nothing else. He has done the rest already, He just wants to have your main meal with you – devouring (spending time with Him in) the Word. Jeremiah 15 verse 16 (NKJV):
“Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart;”
So no matter how much is going on around us, Jesus is there. Ready to calm the storm, wanting to come in and dine with us, so that we may have the joy of the Word and rejoicing of our hearts in the Word, and not in our situations.
By focusing on God, does not mean that the storm will go away immediately, but is does mean that we are steady, above the water and on our way closer to Jesus. As long as we are focusing on our situation/storm we are afraid, we do not have control over what is happening around us. Our fears become what we focus on and we start to sink. Losing ourselves in the winds and waves.
“Oceans (where feet may fail)” by Hillsong United:
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine