Scripture: Matthew 14:22–32
Key Verse: “But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27)
The French word “le cœur” means heart, as in “tak heart,” and it’s where we get our word “courage!” A local newspaper recently celebrated the courageous act of a man on his way work. A paralyzed man had tipped from his wheelchair onto the subway track. Without thought of personal safety, the stranger jumped down and rescued the fallen man. He said, “I didn’t think about the danger of the oncoming train. It was just the right thing to do.” His courage rose above the overwhelming danger.
Courage (taking heart) was the subject of another story about a young mom who was undergoing cancer treatment. Week after week, she returned to the clinic for another round of chemotherapy. She was determined to fight the disease despite the inevitable post-treatment sicknesses. She showed that courage can rise above can rise above overwhelming situations in life.
Walking into a new school, feeling pressure about grades, and standing up for a friend also requires courage. Courage enables us to look beyond smothering, overwhelming fear and respond well. According to Jesus’s words to his disciples, the way we can develop and show courage is to realize his presence with us and stay focused on him rather than the obstacles we’re facing. How can we confront personal storms and situations that overwhelm us? God invites us to look to him and let courage rise above fear.
What situations feel overwhelming today? What would it look like to draw courage from Jesus to respond to the demands?
Throughout the coming weeks, write down your responses to situations where you’ve felt overwhelmed. Pause to figure out what makes you feel overwhelmed and fearful. To put a name to a fear you may experience, circle any of these or write your own word:
failure, fear of missing out, perfectionism, criticism, change, being alone
After naming your greatest fears, pray for courage to talk with someone about them—parents, school counselors, pastors, youth leaders. When you feel overwhelmed, repeat the phrase “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
Lord God, give me the courage to move forward. When my struggles increase, guide me one step at a time and remind me of your constant presence. Help me to take heart. In Jesus’s name, I pray. Amen.