Our church offers the ministry of “Upward Basketball.” I’ve coached in this league for nine years, and for the past five seasons, I’ve been blessed to be able to coach my sons. As they get older, I instruct in greater detail the skills of playing the game of basketball. (Kindergarten coaches celebrate when a player learns to dribble…..)This season my two eldest sons play on the 3rd and 4th grade team. Compared to our opponents, our team’s quite small overall and the kids struggle to get shots off, so I focus on tough, nose-to-nose defense. I’ve especially focused in on “help defense.” Simply put, when a defender loses the man he’s guarding, he cries “help.” One of his teammates briefly leaves the man he’s guarding to stop the opponent from having a clear path to the basket. When the player who got beat, recovers, they switch back. It only works if someone cries for “help.” Some might consider crying for help a sign of weakness, when it reality it shows maturity and the understanding that sometimes we just can’t do it all on our own. The key is knowing on whom to call.
In the Gospels, we find the account of Jesus walking on the water. At first, the disciples confused Christ for a ghost out on the rough sea. But Jesus assuaged their fears and Peter asked permission to join Him for a stroll. Jesus said, “Come.” Many people scold Peter for sinking because he took his eyes off Jesus, but I admire Peter for climbing out of the boat. None of the other disciples dared the feat. Only Peter trusted Jesus enough to participate in one of Christ’s most fantastic miracles.
And, there’s another thing that Peter did right. Yes, he failed when his eyes focused upon the howling wind and rough sea instead of Jesus, but Peter’s distress call was directed to the right source….Jesus. Matthew 14, Peter cried out,
“Lord, save me.”
In verse 31 we find Jesus’ response to Peter’s panicked plea, “
31 Immediately, Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
Peter could’ve directed his fearful cry to the men in the boat. I mean, that’s where the others huddled in safety. Peter could’ve begged one of the disciples to throw him a rope or a life vest, but Peter, in fear of his very life knew his only hope was Jesus. Jesus was his first call, not his last resort.
How many times have we found ourselves floundering in a situation, thinking ourselves strong enough and wise enough to find a solution? How many times have we turned to man for help, when God patiently waits to give direction, resources, and stamina for the long haul? I memorized Proverbs 3:5 and 6 while in Junior High and to this day these Scriptures encourage me in my walk with Christ.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”
Crying for help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of wisdom; especially when you direct your cries to God.
“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them.; He delivers them from all their troubles.” Psalm 34:17