Take Courage: My Current Anthem

13662160_10208878396412450_3814850596075974652_o.jpgI am not known for my patience or my bravery. Now that I think about it, I don’t know what exactly I am known for, but there’s no way it’s patience or bravery. Those are two qualities I have always been lacking. (That picture is one of the few times I would’ve thought “yep, that was brave.”) Maybe that’s why “Take Courage” by Kristene Dimarco immediately stirred something in me. I have been listening to it on repeat for weeks now, and something about it just brings calm to my heart. If you’re not familiar with the song, go listen to it. In the meantime, this is the chorus:

Take courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul
He’s in the waiting, He’s in the waiting
Hold onto your hope, as your triumph unfolds
He’s never failing, He’s never failing.

Is that not beautiful? And it’s so true. I love this song so much that I wanted to find places in the Bible where these words show up. I found a lot of places, but I wanted to share some of my favorites. Maybe you’re like me and don’t feel brave very often. Maybe you’re not the most patient person in the world. I’ve learned that those two go hand-in-hand for me. Because I’m not always courageous, I feel fear often. Because I’m not patient, I want to immediately run from the fear. You see, my heart has a hard time staying steadfast. It wants to run to what is easy. I don’t want to wait on my Savior to rescue me from the fear, so I run from it. But God calls us to greater things than that. Look at the promises he gives in Scripture…

be-strong.jpg

David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the temple of the Lord is finished.” — 1 Chronicles 28:30

David was giving Solomon some of his last father-to-son words. Can you imagine the power behind the words of King David to the heir of his kingdom? God gave Solomon a mission to build the first Temple! That’s a lot of responsibility, and it could be a source of much fear. Maybe David knew that Solomon would become afraid or impatient and want to quit. He said “be strong and do the work” twice to Solomon. The solution to Solomon’s fear would be to remain steadfast in his work until it was complete. Maybe that’s where you are—afraid of a task that lies before you, a calling God has put on your heart, a job that seems too difficult. Take the words of David to his beloved son: “do not be afraid or discouraged, and do the work…for my God is with you.” Sometimes being courageous means pushing forward in the work God has called you to do. I know I need to hear these words in ministry often. “Take courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul…”

do-not-be-discouraged.jpgThen Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, ‘Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.’”  — Deuteronomy 31:7-8

Moses was preparing to pass over the leadership of Israel to Joshua because his own life was coming to a close. Isn’t it interesting how both of these passages come at a time of death? Death brings change and change brings fear. David knew that and so did Moses. Moses encourages Joshua by reminding him of God’s truth: he will never abandon him. Leadership is a scary place. It can feel like everything rests on your shoulders and it’s solely up to you to ensure everything succeeds. Joshua was probably feeling many fears as he thought about taking over the leadership of Israel. Will they follow me? Will God protect us as he did with Moses? Will I be able to lead them to the Promised Land? You may be in a place of leadership right now and feeling similar thoughts. I know I am. The truth is when God puts you in a place of leadership, he will not abandon you. Remember that lyric: “He’s never failing, he’s never failing.” Fear has no place in a leader following God.

stand-firm.jpg“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” — 1 Corinthians 15:58

This encouragement from Paul comes right after he teaches about the resurrection. Just a couple verses before, Paul says, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” Paul is giving some really good news here. This is where the “hold onto your hope, as your triumph unfolds” lyric comes in. Those who know Jesus have so much hope in the future because we are headed for an eternity of greatness. Death, the thing that causes so much fear, will be gone forever. But to get there, we have to stand firm! We can’t run the other direction when life is scary and messy. Patience is hard and like I said, I don’t have a lot of it most of the time. When I am promised a reward, I want it now. But like the song says, “He’s in the waiting, he’s in the waiting.” Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Waiting teaches us and refines our hearts. Our triumph is coming and it’s unfolding day by day. Reasons for fear are not hard to come by in this world, but we are bound for something greater. If you’re feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders and feeling like eternity with Jesus is so far away, keep standing firm in patience. Hold onto that hope.

Whatever it is you may be fearing today, “take heart! [Jesus has] overcome the world” (John 16:33). He will give you strength and courage. He will never abandon you. He has a great future for you.

“Take courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul. He’s in the waiting, he’s in the waiting. Hold onto your hope as your triumph unfolds. He’s never failing, he’s never failing.”

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