Links Daily Devotional

When the Going Gets Tough

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69, NIV)

As a self-admitted “fair weather golfer,” I could not help but be very impressed with Darren Clarke’s performance this past weekend in the Open Championship at Royal St. George’s as he and the rest of the field were forced to play throughout an onslaught of wind and rain squalls. Not only did it appear that these bad weather times hardly affected the outcome of his shots, it also seemed as if he was embracing these storms. No outside element was going to rattle him, especially not a little bit of cold rain and 35 mph winds!

At this same time Phil Mickelson escaped into a television trailer to get out of the elements as he put on his rain suit. At the time, I thought Mickelson was pretty smart, but I think now that Clarke’s continual embrace of the conditions may have been what allowed him to prevail as Champion Golfer of the Year.

I would like to think that I could triumph in a tournament under those conditions, but to tell you the truth the few times I have had to play in competition in bad weather, I have not performed very well. I probably could contribute this to the fact that I virtually never play recreationally in bad weather. If it were up to me, golf would only be a fair weather sport. Unfortunately that is not always the case—nor is it the case for our faith and life. We had better get prepared for tough times!

Clarke’s performance reminded me of Peter. In the sixth chapter of John, we read where Jesus’ teaching became controversial and very hard for many of His followers to accept. A large number of His disciples turned away and deserted Him. Once Jesus started to no longer look like a political messiah to some of the crowd and began positioning Himself more and more as an authority on eternal life and access to God, Jesus lost popularity. It was then that He turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?” Had Peter not answered, who knows who else might have left. But I love how Simon Peter replied: “Lord, to whom shall we go?”

Peter understood at that moment, that no matter what the circumstance or how tough it was going to get, he was in this relationship with Jesus for the long haul. We learn later that it was on this type of faith that Jesus would build his church and eventually Peter would even be martyred for his faith.

I want to encourage you today that no matter what storms life brings, there is no greater realization than that of Simon Peter. He could have tried to get out of the storm like many of the other followers, but he would have missed out on the opportunity to walk with and follow Jesus. Peter understood—just like I believe Darren Clarke did last weekend—that to win the ultimate prize he had to embrace and weather the storms.

Josh Nelson

July 21, 2011

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