G. Campbell Morgan was one of the greatest Bible expositors of his generation. The balance of his ministry was spent leading the famous Westminster Chapel in London during a period of the early 20th Century which included the sinking of the Titanic and the First and Second World Wars. With the drums of war beating in the background, G. Campbell Morgan preached a sermon to his anxious congregation on March 3, 1916 titled “The Fixed Heart in the Day of Frightfulness.” It was a message based on Psalm 112:7, and in it Morgan said these striking words:
“The heart is fixed. Men who are strong are always men who are fixed somewhere, who have a conviction from which they cannot be separated by argument, which cannot be changed, whatever the circumstances in which they live. Sometimes these men are narrow, but they are wonderfully strong; they are singularly obstinate, but they are splendidly dependable. Consequently, we always know where to find these men. The fixed heart is the secret of their courage. Courage is an affair of the heart; courage is the consciousness of the heart that is fixed . . . What, then, shall we do in the day of frightfulness? We shall do our duty; the thing that is nearest; the thing we have to do tomorrow morning. We will do that, and do it well; and do it cheerfully . . . What this nation needs, now just as much, and perhaps more, than anything else, is the multiplication of strong, quiet souls who are not afraid of evil tidings, even though the zeppelins may be coming, and will not add to the panic that demoralizes, but will do their work.”
I love that thought in Morgan’s quote of men being fixed somewhere. Men and women whose hearts are fixed trust in God despite panic in the background, and threats in the foreground. These are people who know what they must do next out of obedience to God, out of duty to others, and out of a commitment to their own conscience.
In thinking of “The Fixed Heart in the Day of Frightfulness” I cannot help but reflect on the life of Daniel. Here is a man fixed somewhere, a brave heart who remained true to the plan, a quiet soul who was not afraid of evil tidings. You know the story of how later in life, while in exile in Babylon, Daniel was forbidden to pray to God, even though prayer was a fixed part of Daniel’s daily routine (Dan. 6:1-9). But Daniel would rather die than not pray, and so in learning about the law forbidding prayer, the Bible tells us that Daniel went to His apartment, and with his face toward Jerusalem, prayed three times that day, as was his custom from his youth (Dan. 6:10-11). Note that the prophet Daniel’s walk with God was marked by disciplined devotion; there was a rhythm and routine to Daniel’s spiritual life (1 Tim. 4:7). Daniel had a fixed heart through a fixed habit that no doubt kept him in the midst of this trial. In the hour of crisis, in a day of frightfulness, the very momentum of this custom kept him on track spiritually. Daniel’s heart was fixed somewhere, he didn’t need to play catch up with God when things turned south.
The fixed heart requires fixed habits - as few can be men and women of faith on the spot!