Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I’m in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He’s holding out His hand
But the waves are calling out my name
And they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again. “Boy, you’ll never win!”
“You’ll never win!”
But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says, “Do not be afraid!”
The voice of truth says, “This is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth
“Voice of Truth” Casting Crowns
This Christmas Eve I had the rare pleasure of seeing my favorite football team play at their stadium. To truly understand what a gift this was, I’ll explain that one of my best friends won club seating tickets for this game, and our seats were halfway up this particular section, right in line with the 50 yard line. To say that I was excited, is a gross understatement. Upon realizing that my team, the division AND conference leader, would be playing a team who is last in our division and 13th in the conference (can you tell I’m a football girl?) I was even more excited. Not only do I get to go to the game, sit in fabulous seats, but I get to see my team completely obliterate the other team!! SWEET!! MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ME!!!
Except that anyone who saw the 1:00PM game between the Patriots (sorry Steeler fans…my home is in Massachusetts) and the Dolphins knows that is not how it started out. Fresh off of clinching the playoff seat and division title, the Patriots spent the entire first half of that game down by 17 points; not only that, but they had yet to even score once. Both the offense and the defense were pretty weak and we barely kept possession of the ball (like I said, BIG football fan).
As I watched this game, I couldn’t help but wonder who these men were that were running up and down the field. I had on many occasions watched the Patriots play from the comfort of my living room; unless the magic of television is more than I expected, I had never seen them play so badly against a team so….um…(how do I put this nicely?) not on par. Yeah, that works.
It was almost like they forgot who they were.
THANK GOD FOR HALFTIME!!! I don’t pretend to know what their head coach said to them in the locker room (him…not so big a fan of) but whatever it was worked. The second half of that game was comeback defined. They scored 17 points in the 3rd quarter and 10 points in the 4th for the win. All in all, AWESOME GAME!!
Now, what does that have to do with God? For the most part, all of my previous blog posts have been almost like mini sermons, and I assure you this one will be no different. 1 Kings 18 is known as the Contest on Mount Carmel. To set this story up, a wicked man named Ahab was ruling as king of Israel and he decided it would be a great idea to set up alters to gods other than THE God. Ahab’s “god” was Baal. Elijah was a prophet of the true God. One day in the middle of this massive drought, God decides He’s going to have some fun proving Himself and sends Elijah to tell Ahab that He will be sending rain soon. So here’s the contest: Elijah + God vs. 450 prophets of Baal + (insert inanimate statue of Baal here). The prophets of Baal do everything they can to “pray” to their “god” that he would make it rain. Elijah pokes fun at them and has them scream louder to “wake their god up” (that had to be funny to see). This did pretty much nothing….obviously. Then comes Elijah – he has them water down his alter and build a trench around it and fill that with water. This thing was good and drenched. One prayer to God and immediately the alter was engulfed in flames. YAY!! God wins!!! And just because God likes to show off, even the water in the trench was gone. Nice touch. The people who had been watching this immediately fell on their faces and declared the Lord the true God and went on a rampage and killed all the prophets of Baal. All in all, I’d say Elijah had a good day at the office. Score one for the God team.
Not long after this, Ahab’s wife get’s ticked off…very ticked off and sends Elijah a message that he is as good as dead. Uh oh. Fresh off that very literal and spiritual victory, Elijah pretty much forgets everything he’s seen and heads for the hills to hide in a cave.
How often are we like that? We go to an awesome conference, we see a miracle we weren’t expecting we get a great word from a pastor, we’re on a spiritual high and everything seems amazing. And then, we get a diagnosis of cancer, we get fired from a job, we lose a house, someone we love dies, someone walks out on a marriage…“reality” happens and we’re left to wonder…
Jeremiah 1:5 says “Before I formed you in your mother’s womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” That can be really hard to believe when you forget who you are. When you look around and you don’t see how you can make it to tomorrow, seeing yourself as a “prophet to the nations” can be more than a bit of a stretch. So we go hide in a cave. We forget all of the things God has done for us, in us and through us that have brought us from where we were and we hide.
THANK GOD FOR HALFTIME!!
Remember that monkey from the Lion King? He’s a lot like the head coach. Rafiki’s purpose, in part, was to remind Simba who he was – a child of the king. That title came with both privileges and responsibilities. And while yes, the past can hurt, what hurts more is forgetting who you are and running from what you were destined to be.
So, to sum up, remember that while you still have breath in your lungs, you still have playing time left of the field. This game is far from over and there is still work to do. Whether you are 52 or 25 it’s still only halftime. Don’t let your past keep you from playing. Don’t let the fact that you can’t see how you can get to the end zone keep you from running towards it. Remember the Head Coach is the only voice of truth and He sees the big picture and He is the one that tells you who you are and helps you know how to play. There’s a lot of time left of the clock…
…let’s show these guys how it’s done.