‘But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The LORD is great!”’ (v16)  Psalm 40:16–17

Augustine of Hippo writes, ‘there will come days of tribulations, and greater tribulations …Let no-one promise himself what the gospel does not promise’. We do not give thanks for avoidance of trouble; we give thanks to God for provision through the trouble itself. It’s what Walter Brueggemann helpfully describes as, ‘the move from disorientation to new orientation’.

It’s common to think of human life as a straight line from emergence to departure. Yet, our path meanders in many different and distinct directions as life unfolds.

Expectation first fragments, and then perishes on the rocks of our fears; we must carefully explore if we are to discover the pearl buried deep in the dirt (Matt. 13:45–46). It is a challenge to keep going.

Putting on a brave face can only briefly help. We must rather put on brave hearts, and these can only be crafted by the work of the Spirit within (Deut. 31:6).

As with all enduring works, this is not the product of a momentary encounter with God, but the fruit of a well-developed friendship. We are privileged to know the end of God’s redemptive and recovery narrative.

Learning to live with the end in view may prove costly, but being dedicated to God’s deliverance implies entrusting ourselves to our dependable Lord. This can inspire a song in our hearts and a spring in our steps.

SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Deut. 7:17–26; Jer. 12:1–4; Mark 4:1–20; 1 Pet. 5:6–11.

AN ACTION TO TAKE: The word courage means heart, the core of our being. Can you find the courage to see you through and develop a state of mind rooted in God and God’s Word?

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, give me the courage to dig in the dirt to unearth the pearls of Your grace. Amen.’

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.