The day before He was crucified, Jesus taught His disciples. He ate with them and prepared them for what would soon be happening—His trial and crucifixion. The disciples were confused. They didn’t understand what Jesus was saying to them. But Jesus knew that they would understand eventually, once they had gone through what He knew was coming. In John 16, we see Jesus’ disciples marveling at how much more He knows and understands than they do.
Jesus said to them, “I have told you these things so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Do you know what “take heart” means? Years ago I read a commentary that described it this way: regather your courage. When I read this interpretation of the phrase, I got a clear, entertaining picture in my mind of courage as this giant wobbly blob, like Jello, and I’m standing there, trying desperately to hang on to it while it slips through my hands. I think in recent days, this has been my experience with courage. I have grasped it shakily in weak hands at times, only to inevitably watch it slurp its way to the ground once more.
But it isn’t like it surprises God when I lose my courage. There’s a reason he reminds us well over 300 times in scripture not to be afraid. He knows that this is who we are. We are fearful. We’re weak. But this is a precious truth of our God: His mercies are new every day, and He’s patient. Over and over again, He helps us regather that courage.
He gives me reassurance of His promises (again). He speaks to me through His word (again). He ministers to my shaky spirit in perfectly personal ways (again). I feel Him near. I know His patient love. And so I scoop it up again. I am regathering my courage.