Strengthening The Heart

The first steps on the journey to the cross buoy the heart with the confidence of a new beginner. Spiritual efforts come easily and consolation is abundant. The Lord's first task is to strengthen the heart and wean it off of its dependencies, so that it may become dependent on Him alone.

"I will lay waste mountains and hills, all their herbage I will dry up; I will turn the rivers into marshes, and the marshes I will dry up. I will lead the blind on their journey; by paths unknown I will guide them. I will turn darkness into light before them, and make crooked ways straight. These things I do for them, and I will not forsake them." (Isaiah 42.15-16)

Into The Wilderness

The heart moves with consolation,
On these first steps of the journey;
Shielded from most tribulation,
Progress appears to move swiftly.

With this first confidence imbued,
God leads the soul through wilderness,
Where little rain and lack of food,
Leave the heart thirsting for solace.

The heart, deprived of former joys,
Finds strength in dependence on God;
The heart's demands quiet their noise --
The path's tougher terrain is trod.

As night descends on wilderness,
The heart loses sight of its way;
Fearing it may fall or transgress,
It waits, helpless, in disarray.

The heart's strengthened in this first test;
It must trust that God knows what's best.

"O God, you are my God -- for You I long! For You my body yearns; for You my soul thirsts, like a land parched, lifeless, and without water... When I think of You upon my bed, through the night watches I will recall that You indeed are my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I shout for joy. My soul clings fast to You; Your right hand upholds me." (Psalm 63.2,7-9)

Lord, be my strength in this confusing and difficult trial. Keep my heart in Your hand, that I may not take it back to return to my old ways. Amen.

(c) Paul Buis, 2009