We live in a world that will throw the kitchen sink at us. In an unsteady world, it can be difficult to have hearts that remain steady. We’re frequently tempted to tank emotionally when our life’s circumstances tank. And our hearts soar along with situations that soar.
Markets have bears and bulls. Relationships have ups and downs. Work has successes and failures. Life has its victories and it has its crushing defeats.
What makes for a heart that’s steadfast throughout all of this? Interestingly, the answer is found in the word itself. In the original Hebrew language, the root of the word “steadfast” means to lean, lean upon, lay, rest or support. And the Old English is similar. A literal translation of steadfast would be “placed firmly.”
So a steadfast heart is a heart that is leaning upon something, and placed firmly in its position so that it will not shift or budge. It is fully and securely supported and unable to be tipped or toppled.
Isaiah tells us what supports a steadfast heart. It’s God. God is our Rock eternal. He is strong and firm forever. When we place our trust in him, we become steadfast because he is steadfast.
Our hearts firm up, because he is firm. Our minds become unwavering in faith because he is unwavering in love and power. Plainly and simply, what keeps us steady in a very unsteady world is leaning upon our steadfast God.
Anthony J. Showalter said this so beautifully and poetically in a hymn that he composed way back in 1887. This was one of my favorite hymns when we lived in Zambia. I still recall singing with great gusto the refrain in Chitonga, “Yaama, yaama, yaama ku maanza atamani”:
- What a fellowship, what a joy divine, Leaning on the everlasting arms; What a blessedness, what a peace is mine, Leaning on the everlasting arms.
- Refrain: Leaning on Jesus, leaning on Jesus, safe and secure from all alarms; Leaning on Jesus, leaning on Jesus, leaning on the everlasting arms.
- O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way, Leaning on the everlasting arms; O how bright the path grows from day to day, Leaning on the everlasting arms.
- What have I to dread, what have I to fear, Leaning on the everlasting arms; I have blessed peace with my Lord so near, Leaning on the everlasting arms.
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal” (Isaiah 26:3-4, NIV).
Lord, forgive me for my wavering, weak heart. I want it to be firmly placed upon you, my Rock eternal. By your Spirit’s power make me wise enough to lean on your everlasting arms and as a result, be blessed with a steadfast heart.
Our Bible reading for Thursday, September 10, is Isaiah 24:1 – 26:21, 2 Corinthians 11:16-33 and Psalm 106:32-39.
Header image based on "The Ladder" by Celestine Chua, CC By 2.0