This week's thought is written by Peter Hodson.
I will steady him with my hand; with my powerful arm I will make him strong. (Psalm 89:21)
I once remember a young policeman giving an account of an occasion when he had to be a part of a police line, facing a ferocious crowd of rioters. He said that he had begun to tremble with fear until an older policeman by his side said in his rich calm voice, “steady lad”. In looking back to the incident, the young policeman told how that voice had brought a calm over him and galvanized him to face the crowd alongside his comrades with courage.
It is uncertain who wrote the beautiful hymn ‘How Firm a Foundation’ but apparently it was published in 1787 in Dr John Rippon's ‘Selection of Hymns’. Rippon had a very fruitful ministry in London and was predecessor to C.H. Spurgeon. The hymn takes two of its verses from the book of Isaiah:
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
Whether it is facing the bombardment of ungodly world views, or other of life’s challenges, it is as though we are standing together in line facing the enemy of our souls BUT with our Commanding Officer by our side, in whom we see courage, strength and victory, and who’s voice we hear saying:
Fear not, I am with you, O be not dismayed
For I am your God, and will still give you aid
I'll strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.
God, who created and sustains the universe, strengthens us. Christ said to Paul when troubled with his ‘thorn in the flesh’, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
If we are prone to ‘wobble’ when called to make a stand, or when faced with life’s challenges, it is at that very point we can look to the One who has promised:
The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose
I will not, I will not desert to His foes
That soul, though all hell should endeavour to shake
I'll never, no never, no never forsake.
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