Many people admire Kobe Bryant for his basketball prowess, but my admiration extends beyond basketball. I admire his resiliency. A few years ago, Kobe was the object of scorn and scrutiny because he had an affair with a minor. He could have given up on marriage and pursued promiscuity, but he didn’t. Instead, Kobe admitted his error, renewed his commitment to his wife, and has remained out of the scandal spotlight ever since. Kobe Bryant is a living testimony that we can recover from a fall.
David also had a great fall. He had an affair with Bathsheba, killed Uriah (her husband), and married her. David was so disheartened by his sin that he laid on the ground for seven days. He could have stayed down, concluded he was a complete failure, and resumed a life of infidelity. Thankfully, however, he didn’t stay down. David prayed for forgiveness, got up from the ground, and gave it another try.
Kobe recovered from his failure, so did David, so did I (plenty of times), and so can you. God has given us the power to be resilient, for “anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun” (2 Corinthians 5:17, New Living Translation). Don’t let failure have the final word; rise again, by the grace of God!
The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked (Proverbs 24:16, New Living Translation).
An excerpt from one of my favorite Gospel songs says, “I’ve got to go through, in order to get to, where He wants me to be.” Often, such boldness is easier said than done, for I’ve had experiences that I didn’t want to go through. For example, a few years ago, my best friend and I were traveling home from Newport News, VA, and a torrential storm met us on the highway. The storm was so fierce that we couldn’t see more than 5-10 feet in front of us. Honestly, I wanted to park under a bridge and wait until the storm subsided.
What do you do when life presents an obstacle that stifles your determination? In the verses featured above, Paul was in a storm with 276 people, and he didn’t want to be in it. As a matter of fact, he advised the sailors not to travel through the storm (see Acts 27:9-10). Worse, the people with whom he traveled thought death was certain, and they were on the verge of giving up (see Acts 27:20). Before they could throw in the towel, Paul received confirmation from the Lord. God told him that they would make it through, and by faith, Paul encouraged his companions to go through the storm.
Paul encouraged his companions to travel through the storm, and they made it (see Acts 27:44). My best friend encouraged me to go through the storm, and we made it. Sometimes the only way to make it to your destiny is to go through the storm. Don’t let the storm you’re experiencing stop you. Go through it, knowing that God wouldn’t bring you to it if you couldn’t make it through it!
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God … (Isaiah 43:2-3, New Living Translation)
Yesterday, I caught a few minutes of the movie “Rookie of the Year,” the fictional account of Henry Rowengartner’s (12 years old) tenure with the Chicago Cubs. One scene captured my attention. The pitching coach looked at Henry and said, “You’re in!”, and his eyes became as big as golf balls. His facial expression literally said, “I don’t know if I’m ready for this.” I’m convinced that many people have shared Henry’s sentiments. Whether you’re assuming more responsibilities at work, waiting to hear back from a potential employer, entering the next chapter of your life, or listening to the news about budget or salary cuts, I’m sure you’ve felt like this before.
Moses knew exactly how Henry felt. One day, God asked Moses to do something he had never done, and the assignment intimidated him. Instead of focusing on the possibilities in the Requester, Moses digressed to his inadequacies: “O Lord, I’m not very good with words … I get tongue-tied and my words get tangled” (Exodus 4:10, New Living Translation). As Moses plunged into despair, however, God encouraged him. He reassured Moses that He’d be with him and equip him to fulfill his assignment.
I remember feeling like Henry and Moses when God laid the Daily Recharge on my heart. A year and a half later, however, the Daily Recharge is a thriving Internet ministry. God will never give you an assignment that He won’t equip you to handle. Just trust Him, and let Him lead the way!
I will never fail you. I will never abandon you (Hebrews 13:5, New Living Translation)
I went kayaking for the first time last week, and I must admit, fear gripped me momentarily during the trip. Kayaking was more difficult than I had imagined, and I fatigued quickly. To make matters worse, I got tired between a rock and a hard place – we were too far from the shore to return and the final destination was nowhere in sight. As I thought about where I was, and how I felt, I panicked. With my strength reserves quickly escaping, I didn’t think I’d make it through the trip.
How do you make it when you don’t think you can? How do you manage you emotions when all the signs say panic? The disciples in this familiar story had launched out into the sea – too far from the shore to turn around and not close enough to the destination – and a perilous storm met them. They were so discouraged by the storm that they thought they wouldn’t make it. In their alarm, however, the disciples show us how to make it when we think we can’t. They went to Jesus and told Him about the problem. He heard their plea, answered their request, and they made it safely to the other side.
Just FYI – I went to Jesus, just like the disciples, and this email is my testimony that I made it. Whenever (or better, before) life throws you a pitch you can’t hit, call your pinch-hitter – Jesus Christ. Nothing is too hard for God, so give your problems to Jesus!
God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1, New Living Translation)