Life with its richness and depth dances on a knife’s edge, often a very sharp one. To find strength and sustenance when your feet grow weary, turn to God in prayer and rest your mind through the wisdom of Sacred Scripture.
The following inspirational Bible verses contain weapons so powerful that the enemy shutters and prefers we stay hidden in the trenches, never ascending to the battle field. However, God’s Word cannot be kept silent. If we ignore it or fail to fire its cannons of truth, then the very rocks would cry out. Do not journey or face your battles alone. The arsenal of joy, peace, and comfort awaits you; it is up to you to follow orders.
POWER OF PRAYER
Psalm 35: 1-3
“Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me! Take hold of shield and buckler, and rise for my help! Draw the spear and javelin against my pursuers! Say to my soul, “I am your deliverance!”1
David’s plaintive cry to the Lord for help can bolster us when our troops are flagging. By calling on God’s aid, we battle not with our own failing strength, but with the power and legions of the eternal realm. We wield the sword of prayer as the first step of enlisting the Sovereign Lord’s mercy and care. It is our foremost and finest obligation to the One who created us.
In this opening to Psalm 35, we hear King David storming heaven with a mighty petition that both requests and confirms that God is our deliverance from whatever trials we may face. Despite the sheer power of the obstacle, our strongest offense lies in admitting our weakness. True engagement begins on our knees.
THE GOODNESS OF GOD
“The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.”2
In this verse, we are reminded first of all that the Lord is good. He has our best interests at heart. Although we see through a glass darkly and our earthly desires often conflict with the Lord’s unique designs for us, we must remember that our Creator always works circumstances to our ultimate benefit.
Second, we discover that He is a haven in tough times. In my own journey, I faced an overwhelming loss that threatened me to despair. I questioned the goodness of a God who would allow such a heartache in my life. Then as I searched Sacred Scripture for seeds of hope, I came upon a printed card tucked within the pages. This simple piece of paper, given to me by a prophetic friend as a bookmark, featured Nahum 1:7 in bold type. I cringed a bit at the reminder: “The Lord is good.” My own emotions revealed otherwise, at least to my wounded heart. Yet, the word “stronghold” riveted my mind.
Being an amateur linguist, I pulled out my Oxford Dictionary and looked up all the different meanings of “stronghold.” The one that struck me as most relevant was “a place of security or survival.” If ever I needed a fortress, the time was now. The storms of life rushed over the threshold of my straw house and left me with nowhere to hide.
On a second reading, my heart lifted when I said these words aloud. “He knows those who take refuge in him.” What a revelation! For not only, is God good and provides us with a shelter from anxiety, but he also opens wide the door and embraces us as friends. No matter what our trouble may be, of our making or not, when we humble ourselves and call upon Him in our distress, He hears our voice and recognizes us as His own.
THE WATCHFULNESS OF GOD
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”3
I recall a song by the Police with the refrain, “Every breath you take; every move you make; I’ll be watching you.” While such surveillance from a fellow human may disturb us, the thought of an almighty, omnipotent God keeping his watchful eye upon us, regarding us as His little “sparrows,” affords a comfort beyond this world.
How can we be frightened of the terrors of the night, when our Lord is with us every moment of our earthly existence? How can we despair when He walks with us even through the painful valley of death? Armed with this knowledge, we discover courage and fortitude are not beyond our reach. We are confident in the knowledge that He never leaves us, not even when the world comes to an end.
THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”4
There was a period in my life when this verse cropped up everywhere. I was at a crossroads in my career and feeling quite confused and disoriented. An intrepid Christian filmmaker pen pal quoted Jeremiah 29:11 in an email and remarked that others of his acquaintance had received this scripture also. He perceived this occurrence as a convergence of minds authored by God for the building of his kingdom. I felt humbled, wary, and intrigued by this remarkable coincidence—or more accurately, providence of God.
Later, I spied the verse in an advertisement. To my surprise, while leafing through a local monastery gift catalog, I discovered a beautiful coffee mug decorated with none other than the powerful words from Jeremiah. I ordered two, one for me and another for a friend. It seemed that every week I encountered this promise, so I adopted it as my own.
What a message of hope! Why do we worry about tomorrow and all the petty little things that sap our vigor and keep us up late at night? No matter what happened yesterday, what will happen today or in the future, God holds the calendar. He marks our days with just intent for the betterment of our souls.
THE INVITATION OF CHRIST
“Come to me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”5
Matthew 11:28-30 is one of the most quoted verses in the Bible and with good reason. Mankind searches for green pastures and rest. We are all overwhelmed with the demands of daily existence, not to mention making a living, providing for our family, and accounting for our time. Here, Jesus bids us to come to Him and promises that He will lay our burdens aside. When He places His yoke upon us, the weight will not crush us or wear us down. On the contrary, His way will infuse us with new life and a peace that passes all understanding.
I committed this passage to memory when I was a child, and it has never failed me. When I am collapsing under the gravity of financial woe, family strife, and physical pain, I need only recite Matthew 11, and my shoulders straighten and the heaviness lightens.
When we seek the mind of Christ and take His yoke upon us, our whole perspective of life and death changes. We begin to understand the power of meekness and humility, two despised virtues in our world today. We discover that the low road of placing others before ourselves is not a dead-end, but instead, a pathway to freedom. Once the yoke of Christ is placed upon us, humility flows naturally from its source. Suddenly, we will what Christ wills. We become as cattle grazing the most verdant of fields, eternally and blissfully free.
1The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, Oxford University Press.