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Faith in the face of fear

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POSTED: August 3, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Last Sunday in Catholic Churches and in many Protestant Churches that follow the Common Lectionary, we heard from the Gospel of Mark the story about Jesus calming the storm while his disciples showed great fear in the midst of the storm.  

Although they had walked with Jesus for some time and knew him, they showed a lack of faith and a lack of knowledge of just who Jesus was and what he could do. Last year there were many storms that hit our country and many people were rightfully afraid of those storms.  

However, the storms of our lives can be manifested in an endless number of stressful situations, from a devastating medical diagnosis, to a devastating accident, to death itself.  What is our level of faith?  What is faith?  A classical definition of faith is to believe without seeing.  However, another level of faith says that we must put our confidence in God, even if the outcome of our stressful situation is disastrous. Our faith is often weak.  Many of us remember the line from the Gospel: "Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief." How often do we feel that we were let down by God when the outcome of a particular crisis goes disastrously wrong?  Our Lord calmed the sea for his disciples and, in the midst of our sorrows and tragedies, will do the same for us.  It takes one who is spiritually mature to see the hand and the presence of God in the midst of hurt, pain, and confusion.  When confronted with a fearful situation in life it is natural and normal to pray for a positive outcome.  Many times our prayers are granted as we wish.  The storm passes.  It was the Old Testament figure Job who told his friends: "The Lord gives and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!"  God spoke to Job out of a storm and Job heard God.  Job kept his faith with his eyes fixed upon the goodness of the Lord.  None of us will escape life without trials and tribulations.  Let us also keep our eyes fixed on the Lord Jesus who calmed the storm. The storm passed only after much tribulation.  When we are confronted with our trials and tribulations there will be no guaranteed outcome to our prayers. We are given the guarantee of Jesus’ presence.  In the midst of all that goes horribly wrong in our lives, can we put our confidence in God as did Job?

Father Brian LaBurt

 

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