The Monday before my church's anniversary meeting, as I was walking on the treadmill listening to one of my playlists in my iPod, I heard the song by Third Day, "I've Always Loved You". I was struck by the words - "Though you turn away, I tell you still, Don't you know I've always loved you? And I always will." The song is written as if spoken by Christ, and I felt like I could hear what he was trying to tell me. "I love you. I always have. Why are you turning away? Come back beloved."
Then, on Wednesday night at church we sang this hymn, "Abide With Me". I've sung this hundreds of times probably, and never truly paid attention to the words.
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;Again, it was like Christ was speaking to me. And, if he was speaking to me through these songs, then when the meeting arrived and the sermons were preached, I think he actually grabbed me and shook me! I had been praying all week for the meeting to be blessed, but I was still amazed that God blessed ME. I felt as if the messages were being preached directly to me. I was humbled and awed. And renewed. And thankful. It was exactly what I needed. Rebuke, exhortation, encouragement.
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
The Lord is good and very good. Praise his holy name.