Saturday, July 12, 2008

"I need Thee every hour...

...most gracious Lord." I Need Thee Every Hour, lyrics by Annie Hawks, Music by Robert Lowry.

I'm reading a book called, The Life You've Always Wanted by John Ortberg, and every chapter is full of truth and inspiring things.

Today's chapter was about living a "well-ordered life," which, in the coming busy semester, I will seriously need. The author describes how turning every day, in fact, every hour of every day, into a God-glorifying moment is the secret to this well-ordered life. It's like Paul says in Colossians 3:17, "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father."

Ortberg quotes Frank Laubach,

For do you not see that God is trying experiments with human lives?
That is why there are so many of them. He has one billion seven hund-
red million experiments going around the world at this moment. And
His question is, "How far will this man and that woman allow me to
carry this hour?...For I who pushed life up through the protozoan and the
tiny grass, and the fish and bird and dog and the gorilla and the man...
I have not become satisfied yet. I am not only willing to make this hour
marvelous. I am in travail to set you akindle with the Christ-thing which
has no name." How can you fully surrender and not be afraid?

I was reminded in this lesson of one night when I was at school and, for some reason, everything seemed incredibly black. I was crying for no real reason (my poor roommate didn't know what to do with me) and I was in a state of despair. I failed so often. I couldn't sleep, or grasp any tangible thread of the goodness of God, and I was curled up on my bed trying to sob quietly so Jolly Berry could get to sleep. As I lay there, some words came into my head,

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who put an end to all my sin.

I couldn't remember what song it was, or any of the rest of the words, but those four lines ran over and over through my head until I fell asleep.

The next morning I awoke and was full of the most refreshing joy. ("Though the sorrow may last through the night, the joy comes in the morning!") I immediately could remember that the song was Before the Throne of God Above, by Charitie L. Bancroft, 1863. I had sung it all growing up, of course, and now I remembered the whole of the lyrics.

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God!

Oh my, but how good it was to know that even though I am such a "failure" in so many ways, and so sinful, and just so very human, there is a great High Priest whose name is Love who ever lives and pleads for me.

So yes, isn't God good? And isn't it ironic?

1 comment:

MagistraCarminae said...

There is a wonderful contemporary reworking of this which we sing at our evening fellowship time on Sunday nights. You can download it here:
Or some over and we'll sing it together :-)
And thanks for the invitation last night-- we got home late and I was tired. But I was touched to be remembered by you, dearest Em! Thanks!