Be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. … Behold, we count those prophets blessed who endured. Also, you have heard of Job’s endurance and you have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, because he is emotionally tuned in and sympathetic. James 5:8, 11
Strength of heart occurs as we consider how intimately God was involved in the suffering of those who are now enjoying his fellowship unhindered. Just as a wall grows strong by adding layers of bricks, our hearts grow strong as we cement in the examples of others who have patiently waited for the Lord to work on their behalf. Redemptive history is our brickyard. We can use these bricks because they consist of superior materials. They are made of the certainty that God is in the midst of our experience. Certainty that he has a purpose for our pain, even if we cannot see it immediately, will strengthen us. Certainty that he is affected by what is happening to us, that he is not aloof from our pain will strengthen us. Certainty that our situation is part of his larger plan will strengthen us. As Job and Jacob and Habakkuk and Jeremiah and Ruth and David and Abigail and Moses and Joseph and Mary and Priscilla become part of our hearts, we will become like them, living stones in the temple of God.
O Lord, build my life with the lives of the men and women who have been true to you and have cherished your faithfulness to them. Make me strong in the certainty of your love. Amen.
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