Monday, March 12, 2012

"There is Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself"

Mark 5:36
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)
Genesis 44:18-34
1 Corinthians 7:25-31
Mark 5:21-43  


  1. Oh Martha, love it!! As one who's fears sometimes get the best of me,I love this post! I get anxiety attacks even though I am the first one to send others to scripture and minister about fear. Each time I go to God and the Word I feel the calm wash right over me. "Lord help my disbelief"

    P.S.- I am a Georgian too, I need to check out that aquarium sometime. God bless.


    1. Thanks so much for stopping by today, Kim!
      You are certainly not alone in struggling with fear and anxiety; I definitely have my moments! It has been such a help to me as it has been for you to go to God, trusting He will remove every fear, worry, or doubt.
      And, do check out that aquarium, fellow Georgian!
      Blessings to you!

  2. Sometimes Martha, we struggle along life, forgetting there are experts that we can freely ask for guidance. Imagine, if we did that readily at the beginning of our struggle.

    1. Thanks so much for coming by today, Mary!
      That is so true! We let a situation floor us, forgetting that we can seek out help before the struggle even begins. Great thought!
      Blessings to you!

  3. Martha... if you had no fear would you be able to experience the emotions you just did! Makes the journey ever so more exciting.. Fear and Courage go hand in hand...
    I am eagerly waiting to hear of your experience ...

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Savira!
      You are right. Fear and courage do go hand in hand. And, if you want to know the rest of the story, tune into my post "Just Having a Whale of a Time". :)
      Blessings to you!

  4. I have to agree with Savira. If there is no fear then how can we experience and appreciate the exhilaration that comes out of courage. But hats off to you. You had to have that faith i the experts to get into the water with those sharks. I so enjoy your posts.

    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Rimly!
      Yes, I had to trust in the expert here. And, you know, seeing those sharks up close was so very exciting, not intimidating at all. It was great to overcome the fear.
      Glad to know you are enjoying the posts. :)
      Blessings to you!

  5. Oh! the feeling when you conquer your fear and accomplish the very that scares you...I have experienced that.
    Glad for you.

    1. It is an amazing feeling when a fear is faced and overcome. I would do this again in a heartbeat!
      Thanks for stopping by, Janaki!

  6. Danny sure got creative with your birthday gift! What an awesome opportunity! For sure, when we fear we should always turn within towards God, he is our sure and steady anchor.

    1. Danny is one of the most creative people I know when it comes to gift giving. He's so right that experiences are remembered much longer than things.
      And, yes, I try to always think of Jesus telling me to not be afraid when I'm facing something fearful. Such comfort!
      Blessings, Jessica, and thanks so much for coming by!

  7. Your a very brave women lol I guess your faith allows you to be !! Thank you for telling us this great story a real treat !!

    1. So glad you enjoyed the post, Jim. :) I don't know about brave, but it is the faith that helps me face so many situations.
      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  8. a very nice read!!

    1. So glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for stopping by!

  9. "There is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out fear"(1 John 4,18) and it continues...fear has something to do with punishment.

    I love how all your reflections lead me to the basic truth of God ~ He is love. And if I should develop any fear, let it be holy fear then ~ reverence for all that God is.

    As I wrote you earlier, I wouldn't swim for anything in the world unless my adrenaline rush urges me to as in life threatening cases...other than that, I won't and nobody can make me LOL.

    I have so many fears Martha and one of them is facing the people in my past. I'm not sure how things could be resolved with my decision to stay silent. And I'm not sure how I will react if in case we meet each other in the street. I fear that they have spoken enough of me already and if I hear people talking of me behind my back, I'll get hurt because they only heard one side of the story.

    So what does facing my fear entail me to do?

    I continuously give up my neuroses to God...this constant clinging to preserve a good image of myself. I hold on to God's love and leave people's judgment and opinions to themselves. Yes, I may...I might get hurt but I know God will always be here to catch me.

    I pray with you. You had such a wonderful time with the sharks. It's really an accomplishment Martha and I'm so proud that you did it. I could feel Danny's great love for you and you're such a good sport to accept this challenge. You've outwitted yourself.


    1. Thanks so much, Melissa, for this touching comment.
      I love what you said about "holy fear", that awesome reverence and humility before our indescribable God and Father.
      You are wise to give all your fears of those in your past to Him. "What can mortal flesh do to me?" We can't, unfortunately, stop others from judging us; I, too, have those in my past who don't see the complete picture. We just need to trust in the Lord, let go, and move forward. He will always be there to catch you!
      Thank you, as always, for sharing in the prayer!


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