Take heart.

There are two words that really impacted me early this year. They are words I’ve heard many people use but never really affected my heart. But when I had my first devotional time of 2014, reading John 16, these two words had such a powerful impact on me that I decided to make them my inspiration for 2014: TAKE HEART

At first, I didn’t quite understand what “take heart” meant. Literally taking someone’s heart is somewhat disgusting to say the least so I decided to research this.
Firstly, I did a little background search on the passage. In John 16:16-33 (Under the heading “Sadness will be turned to joy” in the NLT version) we read how Jesus is telling His Disciples about the Crucifixion. He explains to them that though they will feel sad, that pain will be nothing compared to the joy they will experience eternally. Prior to this, Jesus was basically giving the disciples a whole lot of bad news, including that His time is coming to leave them. But He also assures them that better times are to come and tells them that He is only telling them these things so that they can keep the faith. He compares all the pain to birth.

v21: It will be like a women suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world.

Now, to deviated from the topic for a paragraph. I found this comparison particularly interesting. Jesus is comparing His death to birth. Two complete opposites that could not be more similar actually. I had to think about this for a bit for it to actually make a bit more sense. To quote a lyric in Scandal of Grace by Hillsong United (Zion album) “The scandal of grace, You died in my place so my soul will live”. And it’s exactly that. Through the death of Jesus, we are born again. Undeserving sinners made clean. Once we accept Jesus into our hearts, we become like new born babies in our faith, seeing the world as if we were seeing it for the first time.
After reading up on John 16, I decided to look up the idiom “take heart”. A dictionary definition of this is : to receive courage or comfort from some fact.(http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/take+heart). I tried to define this for myself. The first thing I noticed was how it says fact meaning God’s promise to us is a fact. We will suffer. We will have sorrow. We will be saved. One can only really gain courage through a challenge one has to face, or gain comfort in hardship. People who have perfect lives are not courageous. People who never have trouble don’t know God’s comfort. It’s as simple as that. This saying just assures as that being christian doesn’t mean we won’t have troubles, it only means that we will have joy greater than any trouble we could imagine. And I can’t imagine anything better.
To me, there is nothing more powerful than worship. So I always try and find a song that goes with the scripture I’m reading as it helps me not only better understand what I’m reading but also helps me connect more to the scripture. Conveniently enough, there is a song called “Take Heart”  by Hillsong United (Aftermath album). This song is so, so powerful and if you haven’t yet heard it, I would definitely recommend it. My favourite line of this song is

All our failure
And all our fear
God our love
He has overcome
All our heartache
And all our pain
God our healer
He has overcome

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