Posted by: Jo | October 3, 2014

Take Heart

“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”
(Psalm 31:24)

image When I was young I often heard adults using a strange expression that I never really understood. I would over hear a member of the family encouraging somebody and hear them say, “Come on take heart, it is not so bad you will get through it.”  I wondered how you could ever get hold of a heart and where would you take it?  I was very surprised when I started to read the Bible seriously, to discover that this phrase was used in God’s word, also in a comforting way, and used by Jesus himself. When I discovered the depth of compassion behind these words when Jesus spoke them, they took on a whole new meaning. The instances surrounding these spoken words were also very enlightening and added to the amazing truth behind them.

We read of Jesus using these words to a paralytic, lying on a mat, who had been brought by friends to Jesus for healing;

“Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.’” (Matthew 9:2)

Jesus’ first words to this broken man are tender and loving, encouraging him to take heart and then addressing him with great intimacy by calling him , “son”. Jesus then surprises all who are witnessing this drama by ending with telling him his sins were forgiven. Jesus knew that more than his limbs were trapped into not moving, sin had a terrible grip on him that was strangling his very being. Jesus’ loving heart released him from that torture and then also lovingly restored his mobility.

“…Then he said to the paralytic, ‘Get up, take your mat and go home.’ And the man got up and went home.” (Matthew 9:6 – 7)

What a wonderful story for us to see that when we come into Jesus’ presence, we can take heart in the knowledge that no sin will be allowed to keep us in its grip.  Jesus himself will release us if we are willing to draw near to him so we can hear those beautiful words, TAKE HEART.

Jesus uses those same words again in yet a totally different situation;

“Jesus turned and saw her, ‘Take heart, daughter,’ he said, ‘your faith has healed you.”  And the woman was healed from that moment.” (Matthew 9:22)

The lady in this story had been battling for twelve years a debilitating bleeding and is now so desperate she ignores all cultural barriers about women and creeps into the crowd around Jesus, just so she can reach out to touch him. Again we hear those beautiful words spoken with such compassion and lovingly addressed to a daughter.  Again a wonderful example for us to follow. Too often we hesitate to come to Jesus with a problem that has beset us for a long time, perhaps holding on to it, perhaps thinking nobody can help, perhaps forgetting that we too just need to creep into his presence and be lovingly welcomed.

image Jesus final words to his disciples again contain those life giving words;

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

The disciples were consumed with grief as Jesus prepared them for what was to come, but Jesus was not deserting them, he was reminding them of his mighty power that has overcome the world and promising that when they remain in him the result will be his peace filling their lives.

We too as followers of Jesus have to remember not to be surprised by troubles invading our lives.  Whatever may be confronting us will lose its power to entangle us when we stop, come into Jesus’ presence and hear those beautiful words

Take heart, my dear children!

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Responses

  1. Dear Jo, your words are so comforting at this time of world crisis. We need to take heart and trust in our Father to bring peace. It is sad for the children of Abraham to be taking up arms against each other.

    Liked by 1 person


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