In the first reading (1 John 4:11-18) and in the Gospel reading (Mark 6:45-52), one very clear message is: Fear not!
We all have fears, and they divide us from God. They prevent us from entering fully into his love. They hold us back from doing everything that God asks of us. They trap us in unhealthy patterns of living that keep us feeling miserable and cause us to make others feel miserable. They paralyze our emotional healing and our spiritual growth.
Why do we put up with them?
Think of the word “fear” as F.E.A.R., which stands for False Evidence Appearing Real.
Fears have power over us because they are lying to us and we believe their lies. Imagine how silly it would be for a bird to say: “I am not going to learn to fly, because I can’t see how the air can hold me up! Even when I see other birds flying, I know that the air won’t hold ME up.”
Trusting God is like that. We cannot see how God, who is no more visible than air, could enable us to fly with the wings of faith. If it doesn’t look possible, then we assume it is impossible.
When a fledgling bird clings to the security of its nest, the mother bird pushes it out. She forces it to experience the open expanse of air. Many of our scariest experiences have simply been caused by God’s concern for us. Think back to a time when you felt pushed into a set of circumstances that seemed impossible for you to handle. Did you learn something good from it? Of course you did!
The bird is so sure that he has reason to be afraid, he flaps and panics and flails and falls, thus proving that his fear was right. But his mother swoops down and covers him with her wings. Eventually, her confidence helps him to overcome his fear.
When we allow fear to make us panic, we flail and fall, and this seems like proof that the F.E.A.R. was right. If we stay there, we never learn to soar to the heights that God created us to discover.
Why do we choose to live like this? Yes, it IS a choice. Think about just one fear you have. Are you afraid, even a little, that God doesn’t love you enough to help you in all of your needs? What false evidence seems to prove this? When you identify it, force your attention away from it. Keep your eyes on Jesus. How is God covering you with his wings? Focus in on his confidence and let this give you the courage to fly!