By Tim Harlow
Where do you go when weariness sets in or you’re up against a problem that won’t be solved without some muscle?
When my oldest daughter was almost 3, I remember her comforting me as I left for work one day. She said, “Call me if you need anything.”
Now I’m sure she meant it more sincerely than the person she had heard the empty phrase from (probably me), but all I could do was laugh.
“OK, Rachel, if I have some trouble in this big crazy world, I’ll give you a call and see if you can help me out.”
If I’m in trouble, I don’t need a 3-year-old’s help. I need some muscle.
Guys Like These
Back in the day when Kurt Warner was the quarterback of the St. Louis Rams, I got to go to training camp and interview him. It was the year after his big Super Bowl win, and his was a tremendous rags-to-riches story.
While I was there, I actually got to eat with the team. It was quite a spread; everything was marked with the calories and fat content, so you could eat what would help you gain weight—or lose it.
But as I pondered my selection, all of a sudden the offensive line thundered in. Have you ever seen those guys up close? They were hungry and they were BIG. So I just backed out of the way.
If you’re a quarterback, you don’t need a 3-year-old on your line. You don’t need me on your line. You need those guys!
The more vulnerable you are—the more protection you need! As much as I respect NFL quarterbacks, I don’t think there is anything more vulnerable than playing on God’s team. Whether it’s your paid job or you volunteer, there is no one who takes more hits than a person who is trying to win the only game that really matters for eternity.
Thoughts Like These
So who is God to you?
As I read Scripture, I find the people who did the most for God were the people who thought the most of God.
If you don’t think God is strong enough, your faith will be weak and you will fail.
I heard of two schoolkids bragging in the school yard. One said, “My daddy can beat up your daddy.” And the other kid said, “Big deal! So can my mom.”
If you have no faith in your Dad—God in Heaven—you will never venture out of your comfort zone.
Evangelist and author Bill Bright said, “The amount of trust you have in God depends on how you view him.”
King David understood.
The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident (Psalm 27:1-3).
Moses struggled with it at first. When God called him, he said: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11).
Moses had the same reaction we all have—“Who am I?”
And God said, “I will be with you” (Exodus 3:12).
Interesting answer. Basically, God answers Moses’ questions by saying, “Who cares who you are? It’s not about you. I’m talking through a bush right now!”
Which reminds me of the time God let a donkey talk to the prophet Balaam—a real-life Shrek moment. I remind myself of that story every time I get up to preach. It’s happened before, it could happen again.
Who cares who you are? It’s not about you. It’s about God. So who is God to you? Who is it that you’re going to “call if you need anything”?
“I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron . . . so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name” (Isaiah 45:2, 3).
Call on that God. Let that God be your offensive line. Then when the trouble comes, you will be able to stand strong and know you’re going to win in the end. Yes, you will take some hits. I don’t know how you could study the life of Jesus and not realize doing ministry is never going to be easy. But the reason even the Son of God could save the world and start a worldwide movement in three years was because he knew who was on his offensive line.
God doesn’t need me. I’m just a speaking donkey. But he chooses to use me to do his work, and I just can’t imagine disappointing him by being afraid to do what he’s asked me to do.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40:30, 31).
Tim Harlow serves as senior pastor with Parkview Christian Church, Orland Park, Illinois.