Monday, October 19, 2009

It is I...

(Matt 14:22-27)
"Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

Matthew 14 has been on my heart for months and months now. I was reading it one afternoon, when I was done teaching the kids and just could not put it down until the Lord revealed Himself to me in those pages.
You can't help but marvel at the hutspa (forgive the Irish girls phonetic spelling of Yiddish!) of the boys. They had just watched Jesus preach, heal and feed the multitudes. Yet, when THEY are in the storm, right after witnessing this, they think it's a ghost coming at them...they don't see Him, nope. They are scared to death!
What does Jesus say to them? Three sentences that I think are very telling in this moment:
"Take courage.
It is I.
Don't be afraid."

Notice He didn't introduce Himself to them first. He expected them to know Him and to recognize Him. He knew, they would know His voice, even if they were terrified by what they were seeing. The first thing He tells them to do is to take courage. I think there is a pattern here.

When God gave a vision of Himself to Abram, He didn't introduce Himself than either. He said:
"Do not be afraid, Abram.
I am your shield,
your very great reward."(Genesis 15:1)

Again in Joshua, as He gives command of the people over to Joshua, the Lord tells him:
"Have I not commanded you?
Be strong and courageous.
Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9)

When God speaks first and than reminds us who He is later I believe it is as our Comforter. He expects us to know His voice. He expects us to listen. He reminds us to be not afraid and than reminds us of who He is. That is quite a president to stand on.

It is very much like when we speak to our children when the are hurt or frightened. We say things like: "It's okay, Mommy is here. Don't cry." I am sure we have all said it a million times.

How about you?
Are you worrying about how to care for your folks? Are you mourning them and afraid the hurt will never go away? Are you afraid of how you will survive with them gone? Do take this to your Heavenly Father or do you try to be brave in your own strength? Is it working out for you?

Let's pray:
Father in the name of Jesus, we pray. Thank you for the consistency in Your Word. We don't always know how to link point A with point B, but You are the same from the beginning to the end. You call us to be brave and courageous, not in our own strength, but in Yours. You alone are the reason we can stand against the enemy of our souls. Courage is ours to take from the hand of our Abba. You give it freely to those You have called as Your own. Amen.

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