There have been some great football bowl games. I enjoyed watching some of the fast action and never knowing what was going to happen next. But I am about "football-ed out."
One clear fact that stands out in these games is you better keep your focus on every moment. You leave the game for a moment, something happens and you hear the loud cheering and the exciting voice of the announcers. You rush back to see what you missed.
There was an exciting moment after Jesus fed the 5,000. He sent his disciples to cross the lake in boat. Then, Jesus goes to a quiet place to pray and receive help from His Father. Them we have exciting moment:
Matthew 14: 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It’s a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid." 28 "Lord, if it’s you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." 29 "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"
While we may not be out on Lake Superior with 17-feet high waves, there are times that storms arrive in life crashing into our normal moments. When the quarterback says, “hike”, there is violent storm that takes place as players go across the line hitting each other. You need courage to take a hit when you weigh just 175 pounds. It takes real courage to across the line on “hike."
In the midst of this storm the disciples saw something on the waves coming toward the boat. In that storm, there appeared to be something coming at them on the waves. Talk about fear.
But, Jesus immediately said to them, "Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid."
Jesus is saying, take courage because it is I, God in the flesh. There is no reason to be afraid when you trust in me.
If you are a 175-pound wide receiver in the middle of the football field about catch a pass and be hit as hard as possible, well, it takes courage to catch the ball.
You need courage. You say, “I am not courageous.”
It is not courage in yourself that you need. You need the courage from knowing who God is. He is good, He loves you and He sacrificed greatly for you. If you know these things in the midst of the storms in this, the journey of life will help you to have the courage to take the next step.
The next step in this storm was for the disciple Peter. "Lord, if it’s you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
"Come," Jesus said. Then, Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
This was like a someone daring you to do something without thinking. Peter got out of the boat and started walking toward Jesus. All was good, until Peter thought about the waves and the wind blowing. He knew where he was at — people don’t walk on water!
With those thoughts in his mind, he took his focus off of Jesus and thought about what was going to happen. It was then he started to sink in the lake.
Think back a moment to that 175-pound wide receiver in the middle of the football field. He was going to get hit in a moment. His total focus was watching the football get into his hands. If he looked over shoulder at the 225-pound corner back running to hit him, he lost focus as the football went through his hands. Yeah, he still gets hit anyway!
We know in our life that storms will come. We need to grow with faith and courage so we can take the next step of faith with the Lord. We remain focused on Him. Oh, the storm will come, but we will need faith to face the storm with Him.
Elizabeth Gilbert wrote, “Faith is belief in what you cannot see or prove or touch. Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark.”
In reality, this will be hard. There is a story of a man who was rockclimbing and slipped, but was able to grab on to a branch that was sticking out of the side of the cliff. It is 100 feet up and 100 feet below him, and there seems to be no way out.
He cries out for help, “Is there anyone who can help me?”
All of the sudden a great voice from heaven cries out, “I’ll help. Let go, I’ve got you.”
The man looks down and then up and doesn’t see anything.
Then he cries out, “Is there anybody else?”
It is hard to take that step out of the boat or be the wide receiver in the middle of the football and catch the ball.
Why is it so hard?
It is hard because dependence on Jesus appears risky.
Slide. We like to see what we are depending on. We are a people who live in visible society and not by faith. This is our “comfort zone,” but Jesus asked Peter and us to take step out of our boat. It takes courage and faith to let go and take a step forward with Jesus on the “water.”
I invite you to consider your focus in the new year. We are all the wide receiver in the middle of the football, and we are going to get “hit” by something that is not in “comfort zone” this year. Will we catch the storm with courage and faith in the words of Jesus, “Come?”
Are you stepping out in 2014?