Jerusha: I’m excited to host Young Adult novelist Kristen Hogrefe today! Please give Kristen a big Fear Warrior community welcome!
By Kristen Hogrefe
I’m embarrassed to admit. Needles scare me.
I’ve avoided unnecessary doctor or blood donor visits because of them. Then, I learned that in order to keep my insurance premium low, I had to have a “biometric” screening. Yes, it would involve bloodwork.
My fear of needles falls into a category of fear that can be deemed irrational. Well, mostly irrational. Such fears probably won’t kill us but can nevertheless cause discomfort and anxiety.
Regardless, the day comes when we must face the fear. In my case, the morning of my biometric screening arrived.
Unlike me, the disciples in Matthew 14 didn’t know they would soon face a fearsome situation. They had just watched Jesus miraculously feed the 5,000. Talk about a spiritual mountaintop experience! Jesus then told them to leave without him and cross the Sea of Galilee while he dismissed the multitudes. Once finished, Jesus retreated to a quiet place for some one-on-one time with his Father.
Perhaps you’ve read this story a dozen times, but did you catch that Jesus intentionally sent the disciples on ahead without him? He already knew they would face a tremendous storm and that it would terrify them.
You see, Jesus doesn’t cater to our fears. He calls us to overcome them.
Blood Pressure and Boisterous Storms
When I reached the lab on the day of my appointment, a kind technician led me to the back and started her routine: height, weight, blood pressure.
“Is your blood pressure always this low?” she asked.
I nodded. “Yes.”
She shook her head. “If I were you, I’d be dead.”
I didn’t want to explain that I’m a runner, and since I’m clearly alive, am not too worried.
That is, until she asked me which arm to use for the needle. I’m pretty sure that question alone made my blood pressure rise. If she had only asked it sooner, my reading would have looked livelier.
As the sea around them rose, the disciples’ blood pressure probably did as well. This routine trip was becoming anything but a pleasure cruise. Although several of them were seasoned fishermen, the contrary winds and boisterous waves pummeling the boat grew alarmingly more intense.
And now, were they seeing things? Was that an illusion, or was there really a man walking toward them on the water?
It certainly looked like a man, but people don’t walk on water. Was it a ghost? Were they hallucinating? At this rate, their boat was going down, and they might just be losing their minds.
Blurred Vision and Apparitions
I determined to be brave, looked away, and reminded myself that my last encounter with a needle hadn’t turned out so badly. I hadn’t passed out.
But I didn’t realize fasting blood tests were different. The nurse had barely finished when she gave me a strange look. “Are you still with me? Your pulse …”
My ears roared, and my vision blurred. The room turned pixelated as I fought to stay conscious. The tech put a wet towel on my neck and fanned my face for an embarrassingly long time.
I wonder how the disciples felt at that awkward moment when the phantom’s face came into focus. It was Jesus, and he spoke words of comfort to them.
Maybe the other disciples borderline passed out, but not Peter. In fact, he dared Jesus to command him to walk on water toward him, just to convince himself the apparition was in fact his Lord.
For one amazing moment, Peter did just that. Then, he took his eyes off Jesus, and his fears took over. The waves and wind buffeted the boat, and now, he was no longer safely inside it.
He started to sink.
Peppermint Candy and the Necessary Perspective
Only when I popped a peppermint into my mouth did the walls and floor return to their normal dimension. That piece of sugar convinced my body I was going to survive, and a few minutes later, I arranged a date with Dunkin’ Donuts. Chai lattes can do wonders for a girl’s day.
Peter didn’t need a peppermint or a Chai latte. He needed to look back at his Lord and cling to His hand.
Frankly, that’s what we all need to do. When we’re faced with our fears—whether big or small, funny or downright terrifying—we must remind ourselves that Jesus has already conquered them.
He hasn’t called us to live in fear. In fact, 2 Timothy 1:7 paints a much different picture. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (NKJV).
What fear are you facing today? How can you respond to it with power, love, and soundness of mind? Please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Kristen Hogrefe is an author of young adult fiction novels. She teaches language arts for Alpha Omega Academy and serves as a mentor for Word Weavers International. A lifelong Florida resident, she craves sunshine, preferably paired with coffee and a good book.
Her new release, The Revisionary (Write Integrity Press), is the first book in her YA Dystopian trilogy The Rogues. It’s a dystopia of a different kind—one where characters look backward to find wisdom to move forward.
A Revisionary rewrites the rules. A Rogue breaks them. Which one is she?
Nineteen-year-old Portia Abernathy accepts her Revisionary draft to the Crystal Globe with one goal: earn a Dome seat so she can amend the satellite rules and rescue her brother. Her plan derails when Head Gage Eliab brands her as a suspect in a campus Rogue attack, and in her quest to clear her name, she questions if the vigilante Brotherhood responsible might not be the real villain.
Her shifting loyalties pit her against Luther Danforth, her Court Citizen ally who believes in reform, not revolution. Joining the Brotherhood makes a future with him impossible—and Portia must decide if it’s better to rewrite the rules or to break them.