Don’t Lose Heart


Whenever Jesus wanted to encourage his friends to keep praying and to not lose heart, he told them a story. It was a strange story, I’ll grant you: a tenacious widow who badgered a louse of a judge until the scoundrel relented and handed her a legal verdict, though only to get her off his back. Nonetheless, the odd story did the necessary work. We need stories to help us remember that all is not lost, that what we see in this dire moment is not all there is to see, that God is not nearly so far away as it may appear.

People of faith have always told one another stories in order to keep the fire burning. When I was young, we called these stories testimonies. We knew we needed to bear witness to the faithful love that carries us even through the howling night. We needed to receive one another’s faith in those weary stretches where our faith was weak and faltering. God knows, it’s the easiest thing in the world to lose heart. It’s the easiest thing in the world to sink into despair or cynicism.

And so Jesus told a story and said, Keep praying. Don’t lose heart. I think this is one good way to describe prayer: the refusal to lose heart, the refusal to relenquish our hope in God.

So hear these words today: Do not lose heart. I know our world is in the thick of it, ripping at the seams – but do not lose heart. I know your family may be buckling under the crush – but do not lose heart. I know you may feel you are alone without any true friend who knows the deepest parts of you – but do not lose heart. I know you may be tired of holding on, tired of playing your fiddle while the boat sinks – but do not lose heart. I know the questions and the fears claw at your soul – but do not lose heart.

I’ll keep telling my stories, and you keep telling yours. When one of us lags or buckles, we’ll pick each other up, knock off the dust, keep walking toward the dawn. Together, we’ll stand up bold, even if a bit wobbly, and we’ll refuse to relinquish our faith or our hope or our love. Somehow, we’ll make it through.

11 Replies to “Don’t Lose Heart”

  1. Perfect. We have ignored the power of story for far too long. It’s time to move away from so much analytical thinking in our preaching and get back to story.

  2. Since the first time I read one of your pieces in Our Daily Bread I was hooked, looking for more. Your style of writing conjures up pictures and emotions deep inside. God has blessed you with insight and the ability to portray it to us with humility and encouragement. Thank you. God bless. Keep it up!

  3. Paul, 83 and in the hospital with persistent infected fissure in his foot told a visitor, “Last night I had a dream that 10 angels came and healed my foot.” Yesterday, 3 days later, the doctor said that unbelievably the tear seemed to be so much better that a graft wouldn’t be necessary. All around had almost lost heart. A small story of an October miracle.

  4. Thank you for the reminder of the power of the story. Words that draw us to pictures are those with longevity. Thankful for you today!

  5. Recently I shared one of your blog entries with friends. I wrote, “I consider Collier a friend whom I’ve never met.” When I want to read not just well-crafted words but thoughtful words from an open, still-learning heart, I come here. Thanks for sharing with those outside your circle of personal acquaintance.

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