Lessons from Songs – Abide with me

22 Mar

Abide with me; falls the eventide; The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers, fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, abide with me.

Thou on my head, in early youth didst smile; And, though rebellious, and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee, On to the close Lord, abide with me.

I need Thy presence, every passing hour. What but Thy grace, can foil the tempters power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be? Through cloud and sunshine, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless Ills have no weight, tears lose their bitterness
Where is thy sting death? Where grave thy victory? I triumph still, abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross, before my closing eyes; Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies.
Heavens morning breaks, and earths vain shadows flee; In life, in death, Lord, abide with me.

Words by Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847). Music by Justin Smith.

Performed below by Matthew Perryman Jones

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Here’s a little history on the song from this site.

Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847) and his wife Ann were faithful pastors of a little fishing town in Devonshire England, for 23 years. Although Henry’s health was compromised, he worked tirelessly ministering to his parish, taking care of his family, and writing poems and hymns.

In 1844, Henry was diagnosed with Tuberculosis. Over the next three years his physical condition deteriorated until finally on September 4, 1847, at the age of 54, he stood in the pulpit for the last time to deliver his farewell message.

That same afternoon, after taking a walk on the beach, Henry retired to his room. He emerged about an hour later with a written copy of Abide With Me. He left soon after for a trip to Italy, to get away from the cold, damp coastal weather. While en route to his destination, he mailed a revised copy of Abide With Me to his wife. A few days later while resting in a hotel on the French Riviera, Henry went home to be with Jesus.

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I can’t take full credit for some of this lessons from songs post. While messing around after a recent worship practice at my church, I mentioned how much I loved the song Abide with Me and asked our worship director Jeremy if the next time I play if we could sing it.

We started talking about the last time we sang the song and the words were incredibly powerful. Jeremy started talking about how he loved the concept of this song. I’m paraphrasing what Jeremy thoughts here.

I love the text of this song. The author is not asking God to take away his burdens and trials, he’s simply asking him to be with him during the trials.

That statement got me thinking. How often do I want the Lord to just take away the burden, to take away the trial, to take away the pain. Instead of asking him to be with me through it. At the time it feels easier to just get rid of the pain. Just fix the problem! Because life was great before it happened and everything will be better and go back to normal if He just fixes it. Jesus says in John 16:33b “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” But if you read just before that in the beginning of 33 He tells us. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.”

My family is going through a trial right now. There is pain in the trial. There is burden in the trial. I can’t tell you how many times I have asked the Lord to just fix it.  Just make it better. Just make it back like it was before this all happened. I don’t think I have asked him to just be with us in the trial. To walk with us through it. To abide with us and give us his grace to handle things the best way our sinful selves can.

I need Thy presence, every passing hour. What but Thy grace, can foil the tempters power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be? Through cloud and sunshine, abide with me.

It scares me to pray that. To pray “abide with me.” What if that means it won’t go away? What if that means we will continue to deal with this for forever? What if that means the stuff we planned won’t happen? What if that means even if I pray “abide with me” that God won’t fix the problem? I want God to fix the problem.

Even as I type this I realize how terrible this sounds. I want God to be my handy-man. I want him to be there for whenever I have a problem and just fix it so I can go about my merry way and live my little happy life. That’s so wrong.

What I need is to walk through the trials and the burdens in communion with Him, learning what He has to teach me in this trial. Trusting that this is for my good and wanting to bring HIM glory in the process. He never promises that is going to be easy. But he does promise to abide with us.

All I can pray is Abide with me.

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One Response to “Lessons from Songs – Abide with me”

  1. BANELE April 2, 2012 at 8:03 am #

    yes we should ask him to abide in us! as he promised in the john 15, THE GOD OF THE MOUNTAIN IS STILL GOD IN THE VALLEY

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