Tag Archives: weakness

Abide With Me: A Hymn For the Dying

When I search my mind for a favorite hymn “Abide With Me” rises quickly to the surface. CyberHymnal.org gives us this information about the circumstances surrounding the writing of this hymn by Henry Lyte in 1847:

Lyte was inspired to write this hymn as he was dying of tuberculosis; he finished it the Sunday he gave his farewell sermon in the parish he served so many years. The next day, he left for Italy to regain his health. He didn’t make it though—he died in Nice, France, three weeks after writing these words. Here is an excerpt from his farewell sermon:

“O brethren, I stand here among you today, as alive from the dead, if I may hope to impress it upon you, and induce you to prepare for that solemn hour which must come to all, by a timely acquaintance with the death of Christ.”

I know of no greater hymn which so honestly puts into words the experience and struggle of those dying under the curse of disease, a thing I have not experienced but have seen. The lyrics in full may be read here, and below is my favorite rendition of this song. Please take time to listen and to read the words.

You might wonder why I would love this hymn so much, when its’ topic is dying. But it is not just about dying- it is about dying in and dying for the Lord. “If we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s (Romans 14:8).”

Jesus can “deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery (Hebrews 2:15).” He did this “by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:14).” “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law (1Corinthians 15:56);” He has removed that bitter sting and broke that power which stood against us, condemning us, and He gives and will give us victory over these things. The bible testifies that a day will come when death will be destroyed, and resurrection life will be ours. For the Christian, death needs not be a topic of dread, but of anticipation.

Yet for all the good death will bring to us, anyone who has witnessed death knows- it is usually not as glorious as Hollywood makes it out to be. Disease has no pity; It has no respect for human dignity. It is a cruel tormentor, ugly and stealing from its victims, wasting them, and crippling with pain. Not always, but surely this is often the case. It is not so much the death, but the dying that can surely cast a Christian low, even in agony. Continue reading

Weak: Why I wrote a poem about Job

The book of Job shocks its reader at almost every point. We avoid it, we are confused by it, terrified by it, scandalized by it, and certainly if we’re honest- we want no part in it. Who would? These are nice lessons for Job- nice lessons to read about- but keep it far away from my tent.

Some may sympathize with Job, others, shake their head in disbelief that a man God called “blameless” would desire to die and accuse God of taking pleasure in his pain. We might flatter ourselves, think Job a fool. Continue reading

My Tiresome Sin

Does sin tire you out?  I mean really?  Do you know what it feels like to groan along with creation “as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23)?  You go out in the world and everywhere is sin.  It’s in your ears, it’s in your view; you aren’t looking for it but it is looking for you.  Do you relate?  I become so weary and tired of sin.

It’s not only out there, it’s within.  And this I find to be even more tiresome.  How much I relate to the apostle Paul who said “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is in my flesh.  For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing (Romans 8:18-19).”  Your words tumble out of a tongue that seems set on fire by hell, your motives get skewed, your excuses get wimpy, and you say you want to make changes but a little laziness just seems to take over.  Your desires are lacking, your passion is up and down, and your appetite for the Word of God is much weaker than it should be.  You know the good you ought to do but do not do it and sin.  It’s me.  How I want to change.  How I want to be more like Jesus Christ. Continue reading