What is it to “have heart”?
It is the passion, the faith, and even the stubbornness to stay in the game even once it seems certain that all is lost. It is the resolute refusal to ever quit or give up, regardless how grim the outlook or how certain the defeat. It is to believe beyond all hope or reason for a turning of the tide ~ what J.R.R. Tolkien called a “eucatastrophe,” a “sudden happy turn in a story which pierces you with a joy that brings tears.” (He believed there ought to be a word equal in strength to catastrophe, but opposite in effect. So he coined one. Gotta love that guy.)
To have heart, then, is to never stop hoping for the eucatastrophe to come, and even if it does not, to rip and tear at the darkness until the very last drop of blood drains from your body.
“You are never out of the fight,” says the Warrior Creed of the Navy Seals, and it is this conviction I believe is the essence of what it means to have heart.
Why would it matter so much to God that we have this quality, I wonder. He makes clear in both the Old and New Testament that it is this very sort of stubborn faith that is the currency of the Kingdom of Heaven:
“Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” ~ Hebrews 11:6
We make a big show of “right” doctrine in Christian circles. We split our churches over differences of opinion about what is right and what is wrong, and think this is the measure God uses to determine who is His and who is not.
But who is the one God actually seeks?
I think it isn’t the “proper” man who has all the right thoughts and lives like an action figure still in the box displayed on a shelf. I think God is drawn to the wild man who believes what God has told him and is willing to fight for that promise against all the forces of darkness in himself and in the world until his dying breath.
“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those who heart is completely His.” ~ 2 Chronicles 16:9
The faith God honors is the gritty sort, the dangerous kind, the faith that’s willing to build an ark on dry land in a world that has never seen rain, willing to risk her life before a foreign king on the slim hope she can save her people, willing to be hunted like a wild dog for years rather than dishonor God’s sovereign choice, willing to die for a people who do not believe because that’s what God said love does.
Winning is awesome ~ no argument on that here. But I don’t think that’s really the ultimate point of life. I think it’s how you win, and how you lose, that matters most of all. It’s your faith ~ having heart to stay in the fight and believe in the Good no matter what ~ that will set apart the real winners in heaven.
Therefore, mighty warrior ~ have heart. You are not alone in the Good Fight.