In football, players from both teams swarm around the quarterback as he tries to throw the ball; some are trying to protect him, others are working to tackle him, possibly with intent to injure. In this small pocket, the quarterback must patiently wait for openings to develop downfield; quarterbacks that don’t wait for receivers to get open and rush their throws don’t do well. As Christians, we too must be patient in the middle of madness, waiting on God’s opportunities to open.
“When Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people. He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.” (Exodus 2:11-12) Moses rushes to create his own opportunity through sinful actions and was hardly successful. After forty patient years, God creates an opportunity for Moses to really help his people. From the burning bush, God says, “Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:10) In the following chapters, history unfolds and in God’s appointed time, Moses frees his people from bondage in Egypt.
When Jesus began to show His disciples how He must die in Jerusalem, Peter rushed God’s process as well, saying, “‘Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you! But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me!’” (Matthew 16:22-23) Peter continued to be antsy as soldiers were arresting Jesus, as Scripture tell us, “Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) So Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?’” (John 18:10-11) Jesus makes it clear – Peter’s plan is not God’s plan. Like a quarterback who struggles to wait for the open receiver, Peter struggled to wait on God’s plan to materialize.
As for Moses, with all of Israel’s back against the Red Sea, he learned to stand in the pocket and wait, declaring, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today.” (Exodus 14:13) Peter also grew to wait for God’s timing, ultimately saying, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you…” (1 Peter 3:9) Just as a quarterback feels pressure in a collapsing pocket, we feel pressure in life to make our own decisions, hurrying our throws, resulting in disaster. God will create opportunities downfield; stay in the pocket.
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