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Though you have not seen Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
- 1 Peter 1.8, 9
Thus the hated foe deals as he wearies our hearts,
And by ill temptations shakes the inward hearts with rage.
Let your mind, my men, recalling Christ, sound Ho!
- Columbanus, “A Boat Song,” Irish, 7th century
It is difficult for us to imagine the tremendous hardships faced by Irish peregrinati as they undertook their missions of evangelism for the Lord.
In Gaul, Columbanus, anticipating the rigors of sailing on contrary rivers, wrote this boat song for his men to sing so that they could combat the temptation to give up and turn back as their strength began to fail. Columbanus knew that the devil can use our weaknesses to thwart the Lord’s plans, but only if we fail to look to a strength beyond our strength – the strength which comes from contemplating the risen Christ.
As Peter commended the Asian churches for keeping their focus on Christ during their time of hardship, so Columbanus prepared a means for his men to do the same, so that the work of the Kingdom could go on in spite of their weariness.
This is the way God works to renew us and take us beyond ourselves.
When we are at the end of our strength, there is yet strength to be found in contemplating Christ and His sufferings on our behalf. Every day we must expect God to take us beyond where our natural strength – whether of body or soul – might go, by enabling us to draw on the strength of Jesus, exalted at the Father’s right hand.
Learn to contemplate Christ, dear friends. See Him in His glory, seeing you in your weakness. Reach out to Him and receive a strength of glory you never knew possible – exceeding abundant above all you’ve ever dared to ask or think.
He will meet you there, where you are weak, and take you beyond.
Psalm 118.7-9 (Windsor: “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come”)
For the Lord stands next to me; He will give me victory!
Over all who hate my life I will triumph through the strife!
In His grace I refuge find; in His steadfast love so kind.
Trust not princes, trust not men – Christ shall be our haven then!
Lord, deliver me through all my fears and weakness to love You as I ought, and help me to carry out all Your will. Adapted from Rule of Comghall
 Walker, p. 191.