June 17, 2013
In the summer before her 12th birthday, my daughter joined a swim team for the first time. It was a new beginning. Though she knew the basics, she had never learned all of the different strokes, so the first day of practice was very difficult. After 15 minutes, she wanted to quit: she didn’t understand all that said; she was anxious due to her lack of experience; and she was not sure all would end well. She got out of the pool and, with tears in her eyes, asked mom if she could go home. Mom gently, but firmly, told her to persevere. With the “give up option” removed, she returned to the pool and into the presence of a kind coach who helped her make it through the practice.
Beginnings can trigger insecurity, and often the “give up option” is very attractive. Moses and Jeremiah struggled as they began new roles in their service to God (Ex 3:10-12, Jer. 1:6-8). In both cases, God called them to persevere, YET he gave them an empowering promise: “I will be with you.”
In a new day of ministry, imperfections and insecurities make beginnings difficult. The power to persevere comes with remembering the presence of God and his desire to bear fruit through the efforts of even the weakest servant. My daughter may never be an Olympic swimmer, and you and I may never be giants in ministry. Yet, the beginning gives an opportunity – an opportunity to move forward fully secure in the presence of God.