By Father Jacob Dankasa
Special to The Texas Catholic
Doubt and fear are two strong enemies of human endeavors. So many of us are determined to walk through the waters of life but, unfortunately, our fears and doubts short-circuit our determination and thwart our efforts. A good example of the effects of fear and doubt can be seen in the Gospel story in which Peter saw Jesus walking on the water (Matt 14:22-33). When Peter saw Jesus walking on water, he asked if he could do the same. Jesus beckoned him to come. At first, Peter was walking on the water quite well, but when the wind got stronger, he became frightened. Doubt set in, and he started sinking.
Peter started walking on the water, not by his own power, but by the power of Christ. As long as he relied on the power of Christ, he kept walking on the water. But the moment Peter started focusing on himself and depending on his own ability and power, he started to sink. He sank because his human powers were limited by fear, doubt and uncertainty. Peter began by trusting in God, but his failure came when he turned his attention to himself and began to trust more in his own ability than in God. When he returned his attention to the powers of Christ and invited Jesus to help him, he received strength and continued to walk again.
As humans, we have our storms, our troubles and our worries in life. These are often worsened by our doubts and fears. Our strength alone is not enough to combat these troubles because our human abilities are beclouded by fear and doubt, and the Evil One does well in an environment of fear and doubt. But the more we rely on the power of God, the stronger we become, and we then have the ability to manage our troubles. The moment we assume we can solve our problems without God, we find ourselves stumbling and sinking even further into our problems.
At a crisis time like this, with the COVID-19 pandemic, our natural reactions are often fear and doubt. As humans, we can’t blame ourselves for how we feel in the event of uncertainties such as this. But we cannot afford to lose hope in the power of God and focus only on our fears and doubts. As our scientists work to fight this disease with all their God-given abilities, let us who are people of faith support them with our prayers and continue to invoke the God of all possibilities to bring good out of this evil.
Even without the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many who are in constant despair because of the everyday uncertainties of life — health, family, job, financial status, etc. Are you experiencing chaos in your life? Is your faith beginning to slip? Are you feeling rejected? Are you tired of trying? Those are moments of doubt and fear. Don’t allow yourself to sink. Although Peter was afraid because of the storm, he never allowed himself to be defeated by his fears. He fought his fears by calling out to Christ — a superior power — to help him. As a believer, focus your attention on Christ and remember to call on Him always. With trust in Jesus we can walk on the stormy waters of life despite the turbulence. Whatever solution you seek for your problems, never forget to include a spiritual solution.
Father Jacob Dankasa is a parochial vicar at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Wylie.