Take Heart and Have Courage in the midst of your storms
Trusting God for Big Things is something that normally comes very easy to me. After all, God is ‘able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think,’ right? This passage in Ephesians 3 is one that I memorized years ago, as is the admonition we find in Hebrews 11 that ‘faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.’ As one with the Spiritual Gift of Faith, trusting that ‘God’s Got This’ is second nature to me.
With this backdrop, I found myself in a very usual situation a few mornings ago. Pacing around our downstairs area, I was beginning to feel anxious. Anxious about not being able to travel for our ministry as I had planned (time to get out on the road and share what God is doing!). I had just worked out a sweet deal with my ‘side hustle’ company where I could work a couple of weeks a month, which would give me a couple of weeks a month to travel for ministry. Working in hospitals, we’ve been ‘locked out’ for the foreseeable future and we’re unsure when we can get back to the work. (And with this job, if I’m not working, I’m not getting paid!) Anxious that I wasn’t feeling better after the treatment for a nasty parasite I had gotten in Indonesia a couple of weeks ago, and anxious that it seems like there is no end in sight for this ‘social distancing’ we’re now in the middle of. (Coronavirus, you stink!) Here in Colorado, all restaurants and coffee shops are closed to dine-in business, as is the case throughout much of the country. It makes it hard to meet with people when the places I’m normally meeting with people are closed!
Looking back on it now, I got caught in a very familiar trap. Many of you remember the story in Matthew 14 where Jesus makes the disciples get into the boat and a storm comes up with huge waves and strong wind. Jesus, still on land for much of the night, begins to walk out to the disciples in the boat. I can imagine that they have not slept a wink out on the stormy water, as I Jesus approaches them, they are afraid, and they scream out ‘It’s a ghost.’ Adventurous Peter calls out to Jesus “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Of course, you know the story: Peter steps out on the water and as he sees how bad the wind and the story actually is, he gets afraid and calls out to Jesus, ‘Lord, save me!’
Pacing the floor a couple of mornings ago, I lost sight of who actually is in control. My life (as is the case for just about all of us) feels very stormy. Almost nothing is going in the way I planned for Spring 2020 to go. The waves of ‘social distancing’ hit me from one side. The need to recruit new board members, find funding for our work and secure new speaking opportunities hits me like a strong storm wind. As I took a deep breath and remembered the promise I’d memorized years ago from Philippians 4 to ‘not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’ Sitting down to pray, God brought me back to this passage in Matthew 14 and Jesus’ words of encouragement to the afraid disciples struck me like a lightning bolt.
“Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
Many English translations translate this verse as ‘Take courage,’ in place of ‘Take Heart.’ The Greek words here refer to God bolstering the believer, empowering them with an inner strength infused by God which creates courage. It’s the kind of courage that comes only from one who knows God and knows the strength God can give to one of His children.
Today, as you deal with your own storms created by the
coronavirus, may I encourage you today to take heart, have courage and know
that God’s got this. Meditate on Matthew 14:27 and apply to your life the
things God gives you in your time in His Word. Whatever is happening in your
life because of the pandemic is within His control and is no mistake. May we
all rest in knowing that God’s still in control and He’ll see us through it!
 Ephesians 3:20
 Hebrews 11:1
 Matthew 14:28
 Philippians 4:6-7
 Matthew 14:27