Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, "Don't be afraid; just believe."
When my husband, Danny, reveals, at long last, my birthday surprise, my delight quickly turns to concern.
"Swimming with whale sharks, did you say? Really? But, they're sharks, aren't they?"
"Don't worry," he laughs. "They'll be fed before you get in the tank."
"And, I hear they don't eat blondes."
"Cut it out!" I scold, but am now laughing along with him.
"Seriously, these guys only eat krill and plankton. And, they're huge! Here, let me show you."
Danny proceeds to bring up the Georgia Aquarium site on the computer.
"See," he says as he shows me the photo, "just big, old, gentle giants."
And, in a week, I think, I'll be swimming with them.
What else, I wonder, will be swimming in that tank?
We arrive at the aquarium right on time. As we approach the booth where I am to check in, Danny points to a gigantic glass window where hundreds of fish can be seen drifting through the water.
"That's the tank you'll be swimming in," he tells me.
"Wow!" I am stunned. Overwhelmed. And, anxious to see from below the creatures I will soon be viewing from above.
As soon as I'm registered, we hurry over to join the small crowd gathered at the window for a closer look.
"Here it comes again," a father tells his son. "Just look at that!"
Within moments, the enormous body of one of four whale sharks in the tank fills the entire window.
"It's the size of a bus!" I exclaim.
The marvelous creature passes us casually, unimpressed by its awestruck audience.
And, as it drifts away, I see them . . .
Sharks! Real sharks! The irrational fear, born from a most unfortunate viewing of the movie, "Jaws", stirs within me. My heart is racing.
Really, Martha, get a grip! No one would be allowed to swim in this tank if the sharks were a menace. Surely not!
"Danny! I didn't know there were going to be real sharks in here!"
My diving guide, James, overhears my comment and readily chimes in.
"Poor sharks! They get such a bad rap. Did you know that, on average, there are only six shark attacks on humans a year? In the entire world? You have a better chance of getting injured falling off a toilet seat!"
We laugh heartily. I am so relieved. Because, I trust what James tells us.
He is the expert, after all.
When you are afraid, do you turn to Jesus, trust His expertise, and believe?
Will you join me in prayer?
Help us, Father, to overcome our fears, real or imagined, and place all our trust in You. Give us faith that we might always do what Jesus taught us to: Believe! Amen.
Psalms 80 or 77 (79)
1 Corinthians 7:25-31