Feeling Like Your Courage Isn't Enough?

I love to set goals, work hard, and stay busy. I like being the girl who gets things done. However, all that striving can cause me to place my confidence where it doesn’t belong.

Self-sufficiency can easily become something we rely on for courage and stability. But the problem with relying on our own strength is that it won’t hold up when the storm comes. This month we are exploring valuable truth found in Psalm 107. Today’s verses show us what to do when our courage isn’t enough.

“Some went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters. They saw the works of the Lord, his wonderful deeds in the deep. For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves. They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away. They reeled and staggered like drunkards; they were at their wits’ end. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.” Psalm 107:23-30 NIV

The depiction of ships being tossed by storms in Psalm 107 reminds me of Luke 8:22-24, when Jesus and the disciples boarded a ship to cross the Sea of Galilee. Some of them were fishermen, no doubt capable of handling challenges a storm could bring. Yet even the experienced group members lost their courage.

As Jesus rested, the disciples rushed to him in panic saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” (Luke 8:24) Just like the merchants in Psalm 107, “their courage melted away.” (Psalm 107:26) We can imagine the seamen as confident men who faced storms all the time. Surely their physical strength helped them handle just about anything.

But even the strongest person can get blown over if he relies on his own strength to save him.

When we rely on God for strength, we won’t be blown over when the winds of adversity come. Jesus reminds us where to place our confidence. As we trust Him, He will speak peace to our situation.



4 Circumstances When It’s Important to Thank God

“Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.” Psalm 107:31 NIV

May I ask a personal question? What were you thinking about right before you clicked to read this?

Was it the ever-growing list of things that must get done today? How about the endless run of inspirational quotes showing up in your newsfeed that you can’t seem to stop scrolling through? Or maybe your thoughts hovered over a bigger problem, something that’s causing you to lose precious sleep?

I’d like to say I was thinking about something really profound and maybe even amazing, but I wasn’t. I was thinking about a nagging, aching pain.

Not the heart-hurt kind of pain. I know we all have that sometimes too, but I was thinking about physical pain.

My body is currently in recovery-mode after some recent treatments. I’m regaining my strength, but certain things still hurt. And I’ve discovered that physical pain can take control of my thoughts, if I let it.

I know the power of thanking God continually when my thoughts wander to my circumstances. He is worthy of my thanks. But honestly, there are times when showing gratitude is harder than others, like when I’m hurting and ibuprofen isn’t going to help.

When pain or other hard things threaten to hold our thoughts hostage, Psalm 107 offers a life-giving antidote unlike anything this world can offer. In this chapter, the psalmist shows us 4 circumstances when it’s important for us to thank God. (Click this link to read Psalm 107.)

In the Wilderness

The psalmist tells four stories about God working a miracle for His people. The first one begins with a reference to the children of Israel, wanderers without a place to settle (Psalm 107:4). In the midst of desperation, God responded to their cries for help. He guided them to a place where they would find everything they needed. When we face an uncertain future and don’t see a way out, God will answer. We serve a God who “smooths out the path ahead” of us (Isaiah 26:7).

In Bondage of Sin

Being held captive is quite different than wandering in unknown territory. But regardless of our circumstances, God is able to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). God’s people called to Him, and He delivered the prisoners from captivity (Psalm 107:13).

Suffering in Sickness

Even when sickness affects our bodies and makes us feel like there’s no end to the suffering, God is with us to offer healing and comfort. When His people cried out, He healed those with afflictions (Psalm 107:20). The strongest chains and deepest wounds are no match for God’s great love.

In the Storm

Maybe your battle isn’t in the desert, in chains, or with sickness today. Maybe a storm rages around you, and you’ve been knocked down by wave after wave of bad news. You may not feel thankful right now, but we can’t let the storm of today cloud our memories of His mercy. In the fourth description, God “stilled the storm” and brought calm when things grew out of control.

Each painful situation described in this Psalm ends with a call for us to thank the Lord for His wonderful deeds and unfailing love. God is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23), and thanking Him for all He has done brings hope in the most difficult times of life.

His love never fails, and His deeds are wonderful.