Fear or Panic
This past weekend Katie and I watched one of my all time favorite movies: Chasing Mavericks. Honestly, it’s a PG movie that critics would absolutely rip to shreds. I don’t blame them, 25% of the movie is garbage…. But that other 75%… That dang other 75…. It is like Michaelangelo and the Sistine chapel. It hit’s all the right notes. It’s fun, it’s emotional, and it has the right amount of danger to suck you in. I love it. There are few movies that I enjoy more.
Katie had never seen it so we had to change that as soon I saw that it was on Disney+.
Her reaction was one of displeasure…. She cried. A lot. But, I did too. That’s the joy of the movie. Of course, that means she loved it as well.
The reason I bring this up is not to just talk about Gerard Butler this entire time, but it’s because there was a quote in the movie that played so perfectly into our reading this week.
The question marked asked – “Can Jesus turn my storm into a story?”
I love that question because we all have to deal with a level of fear in our lives. For every person that fear looks different: Fear in our jobs, fear in our family, fear in our passions, fear in our calling. It’s something that everyone has because everyone deals with storms everywhere.
I like to act like a confident dork on stage – in reality though so much of my life is driven by fear. The storm that I face often changes my directions.
That’s not how life should be lived though. I often fear the wrong things… and frankly it’s not fear. It’s actually panic.
Which is why I bring up Chasing Mavericks.
At about the halfway point in the movie, Frosty (Gerard Butler) and Jay (the young prodigy) go diving to see the reef underneath the wave set “Mavericks”, it’s a really cool scene. It finishes though by Jay seeing a 15 foot shark swimming around directly above theml. Naturally, he freaks out and loses his mind… I mean who can blame him. It led to this interaction though.
Frosty: What happened?
Jay: What do you mean? l just saw a 15-foot shark.
Frosty: l’m sure it scared the piss out of you, but that wasn’t what l asked. Why’d you panic?
Jay: Just fear, l guess.
Frosty: All right, well, one thing you got to know……fear and panic are two separate emotions. Fear is healthy, panic is deadly.Because when this place is firing……and l’m talking about 30-, 40-foot waves……it’s all about fear. But you panic out there, like you just did……you die.
Jay: Well, if you’re scared to death, how do you not panic?
Frosty: By identifying the fear and what it is you’re afraid of. Not just out there, but in life.
Great interaction right? He makes a critical point. Fear is a very healthy thing when it’s directed in the right way. Most of the time when we experience fear, when we are facing something that is challenging us, when there is a storm… our natural reaction is to panic.
If you look at the disciples in Mark 5… Boy they were panicking. It seems justifiable because it was their lives and livelihood at risk, yet Jesus was right there the entire time in control. They were more afraid of the storm than they were of Jesus and that played out. It was a moment of panic as they were chastising Jesus for the situation that they were in.
We do that far more often than we would like to admit. We see the storm and we panic. We panic about finances, we panic about our jobs, we panic about how people view us and that panic causes us to lash out at others and at God. We have all been there and at the end of the storm it’s humiliating. I can only imagine the reaction in the moments following Jesus calling them out and calming the waves.
Fear though, fear, is healthy. Fear of the Lord can be a hot button topic. People want to think that it’s a bad thing to fear the Lord because our relationship should be lovey-dovey, it’s not though. It’s a great thing because it shows how much we respect the power of our God.
I want to go back to the quote from the movie?
How do you keep from panicking? By identifying the fear and what it is you’re afraid of.
The way I want to play this is, what should be on the top of your fear list?
When you are panicking about your job or your relationship or your family… What do you fear more? The fall out of that or the power of Jesus?
What I have found is that when you fear the power of Jesus more than anything else- the panic seems to dissipate because you know who ultimately is in control. Those job struggles? He will help you figure it out. That calling that you are stressed about? Don’t worry, God’s got the plan. The relationship struggles? Lean into God’s wisdom not your own.
At the end of the day when you choose fear of God… you choose life. When you choose panic… you choose death. The panic will drive us to act in ways and do things that are not glorifying God. However the fear will call us to glorify him.
Glorifying him is what turns our storm into a story.