Friday, February 27, 2015

Brave

“What, what would have become of me had I not believed to see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living! Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage, and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait and hope for and expect the Lord.” ‒Psalm 27:13 & 14

Perhaps you are very familiar with the last two verses of Psalm 27. They are one of many go-to passages for people under trial, who are hoping and waiting for relief. The rendition above is a little different though. It is from the Amplified Bible[i]

I really love this version of the Bible, because it gives such rich meaning to many of my favorite passages. As I meditated this morning on Psalm 27:13 and 14, I thought about how we are to get to that place where we are brave, of good courage, where our heart is stout and enduring. I have never considered myself brave, and often lacked courage in many areas of my life before I knew Christ. The reason I was so fearful is because I was relying on my own strength and abilities to accomplish the things I felt inadequate for, and to deal with the people of whom I was afraid. Since Christ has begun to live in me, I have learned to let Him take over for me in fearful situations. Passages like this one give me great courage. I do often wonder what would have become of me had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness here, in my earthly lifetime. He has taught me to see many good and perfect gifts (James 1:17) in the trials and tests He sends, and as I have relied on Him to help me through them, I have become more brave. I'm not intimidated by very many people any more, and I am usually quite bold in defending my faith.

The second verse in this passage is especially encouraging in this Amplified Version. Here, the Psalmist tells us we are to wait, and hope for, and expect the Lord. When we do this, we will be brave and of good courage, and our hearts will be stout and enduring. There is a difference between waiting, and hopeful, expectant waiting. When we are waiting for something of which we don’t know the outcome (it may or may not happen, and it may or may not be good), we can be anxious, nervous, or full of dread. When we are waiting for something good, and it is a sure thing, we wait with eager anticipation. So, if we are waiting in expectation that the Lord is going to work in our situation, we don't have to be fearful. We can be brave and courageous, with stout-hearted endurance, because His presence and strength in the trial are a sure thing.

No matter what we are going through, we can be sure that the Lord will make us brave. John 16:33, in the Amplified Bible, says:

“In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer—take courage, be confident, certain, undaunted—for I have overcome the world. –I have deprived it of power to harm, and have conquered it for you.”  

Did you catch that last line? Jesus Christ has deprived the world of power to harm me, because He has conquered it for me. A conquered enemy is a powerless enemy. This world can do many things to challenge our strength and courage. It can bring illness, pain, persecution, and struggle. But it can never take away our position in Christ. That is a finished work (John 19:30).

Tribulation, trials, distress and frustration are all a sure thing in this life. But Jesus says that we are to be of good cheer, confident, courageous, and undaunted. Sound familiar? It sounds a lot like “brave, of good courage, stout and enduring.” That’s because the same God who bolstered David’s courage is the One who is speaking in the John 16 passage! Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) is the one from whom both David’s readers and Jesus’ listeners (you and I) are to get our courage!

Hundreds of years passed between David and Christ, and thousands of years have passed since Christ went to be with the Father. But no matter how much time passes, or how many changes we must meet, we can be brave because our loving heavenly Father has overcome and conquered the world for us. Because of this, we can bravely wait, with eager expectation, for Him to fulfill His good plan for us. Hallelujah! What courage! What a Savior!





[i] “The Amplified Bible (AMP) was the first Bible project of The Lockman Foundation. It attempts to take both word meaning and context into account to accurately translate the original text from one language into another. The Amplified Bible does this through the use of explanatory alternate readings and amplifications to assist the reader in understanding what Scripture really says. Multiple English word equivalents to each key Hebrew and Greek word clarify and amplify meanings that may otherwise have been concealed by the traditional translation method.” (From Bible Gateway)