Merciful One, soften my heart
Save me from hardheartedness
From evil and deceit
From mutiny and unbelief
Turn and return me
From wandering away
From petrifying slowly
Make my heart pure
Open to you
Wanting what you want
Make my heart true
Confident in you and your Word
Hearing and Doing
Make my heart noble
Quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger
Rejoicing in your direction
Heart of my heart
Keep me soft and steadfast in your nail scarred hands
Extended quote by John R. Wimmer, Blessed Endurance
The words joy rejoice as they appear in James and First Peter do not mean what they seem at first glance. The rejoicing we find here is not a shallow, syrupy, or optimistic refusal to admit that problems exist; instead, it is the realistic recognition of struggle bolstered by the decision to rejoice in knowing that God is working to bring us through strife to greater spiritual depth. Yes, it may be tough if not impossible to rejoice when suffering, but such joy will not take the form of emotional jubilance or elation.
James proclaims that suffering may be considered as joy when the encounter produces the spiritual virtue of steadfastness. And steadfastness, when allowed to flower into fullness, produces the most attractive bloom of all qualities: Christian maturity.
Authentic Christian maturity, then, is a steadfastness that we attain not by denial. It is a quality that, like any other kind of maturity, accrues with age, hard work, and a lot of bruising experience. It is the ability to redirect our thoughts beyond immediate woes in order to realize the spiritual growth that results from tests of faith.
Prayer: Soft and Steadfast © 2017, updated 2021 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
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