Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Psalms 108:1 My heart is steadfast, O God.
When I was a young boy, Bible verse memorization was a must in our family and church. To this day when I am preaching or even conversing with people, the Holy Spirit will bring to my mind verses I had learned at a young age that fit the current situation. I can even remember the circumstances under which I first learned that verse.
For example, I remember the plaque that was on the wall of our home for as long as I can remember. It was a plaster cast of an open Bible, and in raised letters across the pages was this verse – Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Because of that verse, the word steadfast has always fascinated me. When I started reading the 108th Psalm, I couldn’t get past verse one. There’s that word steadfast in the translation I was reading. I got to thinking about what that really means for my life today.
Several years ago I was working with a friend on a barn. We were up in the rafters installing a hoist, and the only way to reach the mounting position was to walk across a 2” x 6” board that had been laid between the rafters. That wasn’t so bad, because I could hang on to the rafters as I walked, until I reached the place in the barn where the roof was raised, and there were no more rafters to hang on to.
In front of me was a 10 foot span bridged by a board less than six inches wide, and I had to walk across it to reach our job site. My fear of heights kicked in big time. I was frozen. My friend began to laugh. He came around me and casually walked across the span while I stood clinging to the last rafter. I thought about my options, and every one of them ended with me falling 12 feet to the concrete floor below.
I imagined kneeling down and crawling on all fours. I thought about sitting down and straddling the board and scooting along. Nothing gave me any comfort.
My friend said to me, Just imagine the board is on the ground. Would you be able to walk across it then?
I knew I could, because falling wouldn’t hurt. I would stand up straight and walk with confidence. I would trust my balance. I could trust the board because he had just walked across it, so I stood up straight, took my eyes off of the floor, focused on the finish line ten feet away, and took off. I was like a gymnast on a balance beam…NOT! I think I covered that span in about three steps, all without breathing.
We finished the work and it was time to go back. When I got to that span again, I stopped. But this time I didn’t freeze. I was still scared, but I remembered the last time I had been in this position. I stood up straight, fixed my eyes on the rafter ten feet away, and walked across. I hated every minute of that experience, but I learned two valuable lessons:
1. The way to conquer fear is to face it head on standing straight and strong. The Hebrew word translated steadfast in Psalm 108:1 means “to be erect and stand perpendicular.” Being steadfast means to stand up straight and strong. Whatever life throws at us, and whatever our fears, our hearts are to be steadfast in Christ.
2. Experience produces steadfastness. When you face a trial, difficulty, or fearful situation for the first time, try to recognize God’s training tactics in it. He is using that experience to prepare you for something He wants you to do. He wants you to be ready to stand up straight and strong. He is teaching you to be steadfast.
Recently I spent some time with a young couple who have been through the most fearful and heartbreaking experience I can imagine. They told me how God taught them to stand straight and strong. Then they told me that they are going to purposefully put themselves back into that situation again because they are now equipped to be steadfast and use their experience for God’s glory.
I cried. I rejoiced. I was blessed. You see, not many people choose to purposefully walk the plank. Not many people are that steadfast.