Feb 21 2016

The Strength of My Heart

_DSC7912A few years ago I came across a verse in the Book of Psalms that deeply moved me. It was Psalm 73:26 that says “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” I’m not exactly sure why the verse came to mean so much to me back then but it takes on even more meaning to me today as I sit in the hospital awaiting open heart surgery tomorrow morning. At this point my physical heart has failed me but God nonetheless remains “the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” I cannot deny that it is a very disturbing thing to have a heart attack and then learn that you are in need of four or five bypasses. Those things have a way of turning your world upside down. But one thing I’ve learned is that although my world may have been turned upside down the world itself continues to turn and God remains in control of it. I think the Psalmist must have recognized that too and it is what enabled him to say that though his flesh and heart may fail, “God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” I know, as he knew, that as long as I am on earth it is God who gives me the strength to carry on and that when this life comes to an end it will once again be God who will give me strength to carry on “forever.”

_DSC0890In so many ways the Bible reveals God to be the One who gives us strength and who protects and provides for us at all times, but especially during troublesome times. In a number of instances references to elements of Creation are used to help make the point. In Psalm 46 we read “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.” (vs. 1-3)  Yesterday, my dear friend, Ken Jenkins, reminded me of another passage that offers this same assurance and encouragement. The prophet Isaiah says “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord your God.” (43:1-3)

e_CES8881There are countless other biblical references that could be cited here. The overwhelming evidence of the Scriptures is that God loves each of us immensely. God knows the burdens we bear and the trails we are going through. My current heart issues are no secret to God. I have complete confidence that the One who made the heavens and the earth actually is concerned about me and whatever the outcome of my surgery will be that God will see me through to the end. My study of God’s two books, the Scriptures and Creation, teaches me that I am in very good hands. And just in case you didn’t know, so are you.


(I took the baby barred owl image at Corkscrew Swamp in Florida, the second image at Lake Superior in Michigan, and the bottom image at Canyon de Chelly National Monument.)