My mom has worked as a cardiac rehabilitation nurse for more than 30 years. Most of my life, in fact. That’s just a fancy way of saying she helps people get their hearts back in order or to strengthen people’s hearts. It may be that someone has suffered from chronic heart disease for many years and their heart has over the course of those years become very weakened and even vulnerable, may be dangerous. Or it might be that a sudden heart event, like a heart attack, has weakened their heart and now it needs to be exercised back into working shape.
A weak and vulnerable heart in your chest cavity is a pretty dangerous thing to your body. We’ve been talking about Christian faith as being the heart of the Christian, as the scriptures speak of it. But if we were simply left again to our own sort of English metaphors about the heart we might think that a really strong heart of Christian faith would just be one that has lots of earnest desires, lots of passion, inside of it.
But that’s not how the Scriptures leave us to understand what a strong heart of faith is. Again we can go to the Psalms to take us right to the gold. From Psalm 73, the psalmist confesses:
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26)
Our flesh and our heart do get weak. Maybe when we’re young, probably as we grow old, but the sturdiness, the strength, of the Christian heart is not found in our body. It is not found in ourselves. And it’s not even found in faith itself. Faith doesn’t cling onto itself to make it stronger, but rather faith says the Lord, the one who is outside of me and for me, the Lord is the sturdiness the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
The Lord who has created and preserved my body. The Lord who has redeemed my body and soul with the very blood of his Son. The Lord who has raised his Son from the dead to assure me that my very body that grows weak and faint will be raised again also on the last day. That Lord, that one, is the sturdiness of the heart of Christian faith.
God grant that the Lord give us over to that Lord for He is our strength and our portion forever. In the name of Jesus, amen.