Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“The humble shall see it and be glad; you who seek God, inquiring for and requiring Him, as your first need, let your hearts revive and live.”
“Thy hand will hold me fast;
What though the tumult of the
Grant to Thy servant strength, O Lord,
and bless with peace."
Today’s Study Text:
“Heaven’s Solution to Earthly Fear” Part 2
“Facing the darkness, admitting the pain, allowing the pain to be pain, is never easy. That is why courage – big-heartedness – is the most essential virtue on the spiritual journey.”
If Jesus had come to me, as He did to His disciples, and said ‘Be of good cheer,’ when it was stormy all about, how would I have felt?
What do I think the words, “Be of good cheer,” really mean?
“Have courage for the great sorrows of life, and patience for the small ones. And when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.”
“Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
As I began studying for today’s devotional, I was repeatedly struck with the thought that as Jesus quickly, and with apparent ease, moved across the choppy waves on Galilee, the first recorded words out of His mouth were, “Be of good cheer.” Frankly, I couldn’t figure out what the disciples had to be cheerful about – not when they found themselves caught in the midst of a treacherous storm.
Yet, this is what we find Jesus telling those closest to Him to do when they feared they might not survive. As I questioned the logic of using the word “cheer,” I decided to do a little digging and what I unearthed helped me understand exactly why Jesus encouraged His followers to, “Be of good cheer.” In the Greek, the word for “cheer,” as used in Matthew 14: 27 is “tharrheo,” meaning to “have courage.” The Greek also compares the word “tharrheo” to the words of Jesus which when translated mean to “exercise courage, to be bold, and to have confidence.” However, I was not finished digging by just looking into the Greek. Webster’s Dictionary also helped broaden my view of the word “cheer.”
If you will picture in your mind some of the images that were marked in our memories by photos taken at the end of World War II, especially in Europe, where liberating forces were viewed with such “cheer,” it makes the definition of the word “cheer,” easier to comprehend. As the dictionary definition of the word “cheer” clearly points out, while we today may link the word “cheer” with gaiety or happiness, this word originally portrayed honor. “Cheering” is what we might call it, because the individuals who were being “cheered” were the brave, the bold, and above all, the courageous.
Thus, when Jesus came to His followers in the middle of a troubled sea, His first words could be translated, “Be bold, be brave, be filled with courage. Indeed, be of, good cheer.” No wonder Jesus’ friends had nothing to fear! As Clifton Kirkpatrick so correctly points out in his pastoral perspective of this verse in Matthew 14: 27, “Jesus does not abandon us but rather comes to us, as He came to the disciples, when we need Him most.”
The phrase, “When we need Him most, got me to humming a familiar old hymn I had heard many years ago as a teen entitled, “Just When I Need Him.” Here are some of the words, penned by beloved hymn writer William Poole in 1907:
“Just when I need Him,
Jesus is near,
Just when I falter, just when I fear;
Ready to help me, ready to cheer,
Just when I need Him most.
Just when I need Him
Jesus is strong,
Bearing my burdens all the day long;
For all my sorrow giving a song
Just when I need Him most.
Just when I need Him,
He is my all,
Answering when upon Him I call;
Tenderly watching lest I should fall,
Just when I need Him most.”
In Psalm 46:1, 2, Amplified Bible, the seeds of courage are not only planted but watered by these words of this Psalm song: “God is our Refuge and Strength, mighty and impenetrable to temptation, a very present and well-proved help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear.” It is fear that courage destroys. Call it our heat seeking missile from heaven, for when the blazing fire of fear seeks our destruction, courage will be the heavenly force that eliminates fear from our lives.
Just imagine yourself in the boat with the disciples. Weary from battling against the elements and concerned that alone you will be overcome, you might have felt there was no way possible to battle the surging water around you. And then a voice cries out, “Be of good cheer, be bold, be courageous.” As J.R. Miller so touchingly writes: “It is in such hours that we realize the blessedness of Christ’s power to help. He can go out on any wave, into the wildest sea, to reach those who are driven and tossed. He can carry help to all who are troubled. He can comfort in any sorrow, and give victory in any strife.”
Never forget, He’ll be there for you, just when you need Him most.
“If Jesus personally knows the pain of loss and suffering, He can comfort and encourage me in the midst of the turbulence in a world corrupted by sin.”
The Case For Christ
“O Lord, hear my voice when I cry unto You;
have mercy on me and answer me.
Do not hide Your face from me;
nor thrust me aside in displeasure:
For You are my helper; cast me not away;
do not forsake me, O God of my salvation.”
Psalm 27:7, 9
“Father, hear the prayer we offer;
Not for ease that prayer shall be,
But for strength that we may ever
Live our lives courageously.”
Love Maria Willis
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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