Casting Out Fear

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”
—I John 4:18

IN MARK’S GOSPEL, HE recounts a day when a large crowd gathered around our Lord Jesus as he was teaching on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. The multitude was eager to hear his words, and Jesus had to take to a boat where, just offshore, he continued to address the people until the evening of the day.

Mark provides a wonderful narrative of that very touching scene. “The same day, when the even was come, he [Jesus] saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”—Mark 4:35-41

The circumstance in Galilee demonstrated the vast difference between mature and immature faith. Jesus exhibited total faith and confidence in his Father to protect and preserve him in the midst of what appeared to be a desperate, possibly fatal, circumstance. The disciples on the other hand, failed to demonstrate the same degree of confidence in their Master and his concern for them.

The circumstance at Galilee was used to impart a vital lesson, yet one might ask if a loving Savior could not have instilled that lesson by means less terrifying? It is the psalmist who best answers that question by stating, in Psalm 107, a most obvious fact. He declares that all who sail upon the sea must expect occasional storms. He speaks of those storms as though they are created by God, but it is more accurate to say they are permitted by God for instructive purposes. Their intensity is precisely calibrated to reveal to the New Creature many wonders that could not otherwise be revealed.

The psalmist depicts those who are subject to stormy experiences while upon the sea. “They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.”—Ps. 107:23-30


This psalm characterizes the experiences that all New Creatures in Christ must endure while in the world. They, and their experiences, are portrayed as analogous to mariners who go down to the ‘sea in ships’ to do business in ‘great waters.’ The unbelieving world constitutes the great waters spoken of more familiarly in the modern idiom as the sea of humanity. Christ Jesus is the ship. Those who are in the ‘ship’ of Christ Jesus during the Gospel Age are the Lord’s people who sail upon that symbolic sea. The business of those in the ship of Christ is the business of proclaiming and defending the Truth of God—his righteous principles and precepts—under all circumstances of general opposition from an unbelieving world. While conducting their righteous business in that ship on the great waters, the child of God must be prepared to encounter deep currents and resistant forces as unseen and destructive as the wind.

The Apostle Paul reminds us, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness [wicked spirits, Marginal Translation] in high places.”—Eph. 6:12

The psalmist indicates that only those who ‘go down to the sea in ships’ are privileged to ‘see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.’ Only those who are under sail, and driving toward their ‘desired haven,’ will experience the wonder of the deep things of God, many of which can be revealed in their fullness only by extreme circumstances while in his service.—I Cor. 2:10


The stormy experiences of life were also seen by the psalmist. He says, ‘They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths.’ The Lord’s spiritual mariners are sometimes carried so high by experiences that they seem almost carried to heavens height, but then they may plunge into a trough of the deep. While in that trough their soul is melted because of the trouble. The buffeting and the pounding make the child of God ‘stagger’ and ‘reel to and fro.’ In their extremity, dazed and bruised, they wonder if they are able to stay aboard the ship of Christ. As the strength of the storms reveals the true weakness of the mariners, they often feel they might be swept overboard. They have been brought to ‘their wit’s end [all their wisdom is swallowed up, Marginal Translation].’

The Christian can never calm the storm by his own wits. Though the immediate ferocity of the storm might diminish, it is usually only temporary. It will never become a lasting calm, and the wind will never totally subside to a sailing breeze. The waters will never be truly quieted because deep below the surface they will remain troubled, the more easily stirred when the wind rises once again. If the one who is in the ship of Christ persists in trusting in his own strength and wisdom, one day a storm will arise that will sweep him overboard into the sea where, exhausted and confused, both he and his wisdom will be swallowed up.


The Scriptures assure us that when we go down to the great waters, the Lord is ever present with us. He is prepared to help us avoid disaster and he is ever eager to help us maintain a safe and true course toward our destination. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.”—Ps. 46:1-3

The psalmist declares that the spiritual mariners who would avoid being swallowed up by the sea should ‘cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.’ That is what the Lord’s disciples did when on the Sea of Galilee. They did the right thing, but for the wrong reason. They cried unto the Lord in their distress, but their cry was born of terror and doubt about his ability and willingness to save them out of their distress. The psalmist emphasizes that all spiritual mariners of mature faith will cry unto the Lord while in the very midst of their distresses, not from doubt and terror, but with thanksgiving and praise for the certain knowledge that he will, in fact, preserve them.

He does not say that the Lord will not allow further distresses, or that all troubles vanish and the course of the mariner will become smooth sailing ever after. The distresses noted by the psalmist are often the means by which the New Creature in Christ becomes more fully formed, and develops more fruits of the Spirit. When those in Christ cry unto the Lord in their trouble, they do not implore the Lord to make the trouble vanish solely for their personal benefit. They do not seek to be guided around the storms to attain a life of ease. They cry that by those experiences they may be made more nearly like their blessed Master, and more refined as gold from the fire. They become more mature in the faith, and more nearly ready to praise him for their promised providential care.


When those who go down to the great waters cease attempting to preserve themselves by their own wit and wisdom, and when they cry unto the Lord in full confidence that he will hear and respond, true peace comes to them. ‘He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.’ A stillness settles over the child of God, not because the storm itself is removed, but because his fear of the storm is removed. He has been brought to the realization that the very storms he is permitted to encounter are the truest indication that he is sailing in the proper course. He reaches the inescapable conclusion that a course without the storms would be a sure indication that he was not sailing in the proper direction. His perception of the storm has changed entirely. No longer does he fear being engulfed by the waves. He has come to understand that every experience is in the hands of our loving God and that his progress is toward mature faith in him. He has determined to rely upon the ship to carry him through. ‘Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.’ Thankful for being delivered from the stormy experiences, he is convinced of his Heavenly Father’s ability to guide and protect him under all conditions while upon the great waters, and that he will arrive at his desired haven.

The desired haven is the destination sought by every New Creature who is walking in “newness of life” with the Lord. Paul explains, “We are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Rom. 6:4) This is the reason we have undertaken the voyage, that we may reach our destination with mature faith and character. To make that journey we must go down to the sea. A successful voyage is not determined by conditions, but by our faith and the casting out of fear. That significant truth was conveyed by our Lord to his disciples that day at Galilee.


Mark records another small detail in connection with the great event that took place that day at Galilee. He writes, ‘The same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.’ The other little ships, and those who were riding in them, may represent those who at times witness the stormy experiences of the consecrated. As the consecrated are tossed to and fro on their personal or collective stormy seas, others are often affected by those storms. When God makes the storm a calm for his consecrated child, it no doubt has a powerful effect on the bystanders who may have been witnesses to what had taken place.

The Apostle Paul introduced this thought in his second epistle to the church at Corinth. He cautions his brethren in Christ not to seek respite from their distresses merely for personal ease, but for the beneficial effect it will have on those who witness God’s tender mercy exercised on behalf of his children who cry unto him in full faith, believing he will surely hear. Paul writes, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.”—II Cor.1:3-7

The cries of the New Creature in Christ are more often cries of thanksgiving and praise to God, whether he is at peace or in the midst of distresses. He has learned that these are the means by which, in due time, he will be brought unto the desired haven. The spiritual mariner, the New Creature in Christ Jesus, may cry out of his trouble for personal relief, but trusts the sanctifying effect of God’s providence over him, and that his response will have on those in the other little ships nearby.

What a blessing it is to realize the nature of God’s protecting hand over us that may often be manifest to others. The apostle brings this thought to our attention when he said, “Call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.”—Heb. 10:32,33

There is no fear with those who have cast out fear. “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” (Heb. 13:5,6) Let us cast out fear, because perfect love has no fear.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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