August 06, 2021

A Familiar Voice

Matthew 17:1-8

“Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

—  Matthew 17:7-8

Some years ago when I was a young youth pastor, I sat on the edge of a tall, wooden ­tower, strapped to a zipline cable, with the whole youth group on the ground below cheering me on. I hate heights, and the thought of jumping from a perfectly good tower for no reason still makes me break into a cold sweat. But I wanted to show my students that I could conquer my fear and zipline to the bottom. The staff member behind me was a good friend and was close enough to hear me. I whispered to him that I was afraid and he was going to have to push me off the edge. He whispered back that everything would be fine, and then he pushed.

Boldness got me only so far that day. It got me up the tower, strapped in, and to the edge of the platform. But then my fear overtook me, and I needed a familiar voice—and a push—to go the rest of the way.

Peter, James, and John followed Jesus a long way. Their boldness took them to the top of a mountain and watched as Jesus was transfigured and he talked with Moses and Elijah. When God’s voice sounded from the heavens, though, fear overtook them. But then Jesus came over and said, “Don’t be afraid.” His familiar voice called them out of fear.

When you are afraid, take a moment to listen for Jesus’ voice calling you out of your fear. You might be surprised at the form that voice takes, but it will always be there.

Lord Jesus, when we are afraid, help us to listen for your voice calling to us. Amen.

About the author — Bret Lamsma

Bret Lamsma is director of faith formation at a church in Denver, Colorado, and has served churches in Michigan and California in youth, inter-generational, and educational ministries. Bret and his wife, Julie, have two children, and he enjoys hiking, camping, and visiting national parks with his family.

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