By: Chad Hyatt
Reflection—v. 14 ‘be strong, and let your heart take courage’
This is a prayer for where we live—a prayer for the everyday, a prayer for the struggle. At the core, this prayer invites us to courage. The psalmist, just as we so often do, feels overwhelmed, under attack, besieged. Paid attention to the news lately? Pondered the state of our world? The psalmist is there with us. Sure, the psalm begins with a bold declaration of faith, but that is a lot more like the first paragraph in a newspaper article—it is a summary, a snapshot of where we are headed. Read on, and it becomes more clear that the psalmist is alarmed by enemies on every side and is afraid of being abandoned—that even God will hide what the psalmist desires most: God’s own loving face. But it is precisely here, at the depth of fear, that something else begins to take hold. Instead of an endless and frightful abyss, the psalmist finds God at the deepest point within us—or as Bible writers term it, God is there in the ‘heart’ of us. The psalmist recognizes that the deepest movement of the heart is the same as the call of a loving God. ‘Seek my face,’ God says. And the heart responds, ‘Your face, I will seek.’ The psalmist wants to make a home in the presence of God. Our word for courage comes from the language of the heart; think ‘corazon’ in Spanish or ‘core’ as an English comparison. Courage is quite literally the stuff of the heart. It is what we possess when we live from the heart—and what we see there—and not what we see in the troubles that seem to surround us like armies. Take heart. When we follow the cry of our heart, it leads toward God, toward prayer, toward worship. And fear? The things that make us afraid may still be there, but suddenly and surprisingly, fear itself seems to no longer have a foothold within us.
Prayer God of our heart, God our longing, in you we find light to dispel our fears.