Genesis 47:1-26; Psalms 91, 92; 1 Corinthians 9:16-27; Mark 6:47-56
My 4 ½ year-old-son and his best friend came bounding into church from Sunday School eager to show me the fish they had colored. They proceeded to tell me how God fed thousands from a few loaves and a couple of fish. Matching their enthusiasm, I said “Really!” In response they proudly exclaimed, “Yeah, God is so great, he can do anything!” I thought to myself how easy it is to lose sight of the awesomeness of God’s power and what this means for us. I think the set of readings today speak to God’s power and urge us to step out boldly in our faith with the promise that no threat or danger, no matter how great, is mightier than God’s power.
Psalm 91 speaks of God as the protector of those who trust in him. “He will shelter you with his wings; you will find safety under his wings. His faithfulness is like a shield or a protective wall. You need not fear the terrors of the night….” In Mark, Jesus calms his disciples as he walks across the water by stating, “Have courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.”
Fear is a paralyzing force, causing us to become passive and keeping us from taking initiative or stepping out of our comfort zone. Fear can even keep us from serving God and obeying his word. Jonah comes to mind.
The way to heaven is compared to a race in 1 Corinthians, a race that requires conditioning of our soul and intense effort. I believe we must step out of our comfort zone with the knowledge that God will protect us if we are to win this race. This does not mean that we will be spared trials and tribulations, pain, or suffering in this world. The reading for Genesis reminds us the pilgrimage is not always easy. Discipleship is dangerous. In the light of the blessings of eternity, the sufferings of this life are but a small price to pay! I pray that I will be bold enough to take the big steps that Jesus has for me to take.