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May 20 Have courage. Do not be afraid

Matt 14:27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them: “Have courage!~~  It is I. Do not be afraid.“~|

It was a normal trip across the northern end of the Sea of Galilee. For some reason, Jesus had remained on the east side and ordered the disciples to go ahead of Him. They were confused, perhaps disillusioned, and disappointed that Jesus sent them off without explanation. It was a dark and stormy night, and they were alone. The last time they were in a storm, Jesus stood up and calmed the storm (Matt 8:26), but now He was not with them. They were afraid. The “fourth watch” (14:24) is three to six o’clock in the morning. They had been sailing all night.

Jesus waited, allowing the situation worsen to see if they would turn to the Lord in their hearts. He knew what their response would be, but they needed to know their limitations and see His ability. This was a test. They would later have to face things far more intimidating and dangerous.

In the midst of the story, they all saw Jesus walking on the water. According to Mark’s Gospel, Jesus “would have passed them by” (6:48), but the disciples were pushed beyond their limits when Jesus appeared. Fear changed to panic.

Take courage, it is I” (lit. “I am”), Jesus said. Regardless of our situation, He is with us and expects us not to be intimidated or frightened. “The Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me,” said Paul (2 Tim 4:17). We will never be in a circumstance where Christ is not with us.

As a jungle pilot, I once had an engine failure over the Colombian rain forest and had to crash into a canopy of sixty-foot trees. I remember praying, “Lord, I gave you my life. It is Yours. You can do with it whatever You wish. If you want to take me now, that is fine! If you want to protect me through this crash, I’ll thank you forever.” God’s peace was immediate as I descended from four thousand feet to almost certain death. When I hit the trees, the floats caught in a large tree, which bowed over, cushioning the blow as the plane struck the earth vertically. I was not harmed! I got out of the plane, fell to my knees, and thanked God for His amazing protection. That day marked a renewed life of confidence in God. Never be afraid to do His will.

“Thank You, heavenly Father, that we do not have to give in to fear. We can trust in Your love and Your presence in all circumstances. Thank You for standing with us when life gets tough.”

 In order to practice this command today, I am going to ….

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