What I Learned about Overcoming Fear from a Shark Expert
- August 4, 2020
“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)
This morning, I listened to a podcast with a man named William Winram, an ocean explorer. After asking myself “How does a person end up with ‘Ocean Explorer’ as their job title?”, I listened attentively to what he had to say. He was talking about sharks. Winram does more than study sharks, he swims with them.
Once, he was out diving deep under water. As Winram swam along, suddenly, directly beneath him emerged a very large Great White. She was swimming directly at him, head moving side to side, which according to Winram is a sure tell sign that she was moving faster. Do you have chills yet?
What did Winram do? For starters, he did not panic. Secondly, he did not swim away. Fleeing is a bad plan because swimming away triggers Great Whites to attack, and secondly, nobody can outswim a Great White shark. So, what did he do? He swam directly AT it. Which caused the shark to hesitate, just long enough for him to firmly strike it in the gills, which apparently sharks really dislike.
OK, so what does this have to do with our spiritual life? A few things I believe. This coming Sunday, August 9, we begin a new Sermon Series called “No F.E.A.R.” Most of us could not imagine a scenario scarier than hearing the word “SHARK!” while swimming in the ocean. In reality, the things that make us afraid most days are far less visible—like worrying about losing a job, experiencing failure, or receiving a poor health diagnosis.
Reasons for being afraid are sure to come to us in life. You know as much as me that our faith in Christ does not insulate us from suffering, and Jesus never said it would. But he wants to teach you and me to rest and abide in him. Knowing he is with us enables us to face even our “sharks,” some of which turn out to be less “scary” that we initially thought.
Even the worst suffering will not be the end of our story. God has promised to keep our life secure in his love forever through the Cross of Christ. The Resurrection of Jesus is the sure sign of that.
According to William Winram, if you see a shark in the ocean, chances are it is more curious than anything else. Probably like most of you, I still would rather not test that claim. What I will do, the next time I encounter a reason to feel afraid, is to breathe deeply, look to Christ, and ask him to walk forward with me. Maybe you can try that too?
It could just be that you’ll find yourself living with “No Fear” in a way that you never have before.
Learn more about William Winram and Ocean Conversation here, http://williamwinram.com/