The verse below from Psalm 139 is truly a balm for the weary Christian who may be battling anxiety, fear or depression. Our circumstances and even our own wicked sin can cause the darkness to seem to be tangible. Yet the truths of Scripture must always trump our feelings. We rest not in how we feel but in the truths of God’s word which is unchanging and absolute truth. I encourage you to read all of Psalm 139, but this one verse particularly stood out to me this morning in my devotional time:
“If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to You; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with You.” Psalm 139:11-12
Truly there is no shadow in the presence of my King!
Soli Deo Gloria.
Every once in a while you come across an old hymn that is rarely sung in church and you wonder why it isn’t. In God’s providence and perfect timing, I remember sitting in church not too long ago and my pastor quoted a few lines from an old, obscure hymn and I immediately related to it. The glorious truths that the hymn points to bring us to Scripture over and over as we relate to the promises of comfort alongside the promises of suffering and trial. (Philippians 1:29) It’s that wonderful picture of our Shepherd in Psalm 23 walking along with us in the dark valley discipling and comforting us at the same time.
The lyrics to this hymn below by John Campbell Shairp are some of my favorites. I must admit that I printed out a small copy of them and they are taped to the front inside cover of my Bible. This hymn really describes the reality of the Christian walk and our need to remember that it’s not my grasp of Christ that matters most to my comfort but His grasp of me. What glorious truth!
‘Twixt gleams of joy and clouds of doubt
Our feelings come and go;
Our best estate is tossed about
In ceaseless ebb and flow.
No mood of feeling, form of thought
Is constant for a day;
But thou, 0 Lord, thou changest not:
The same thou art alway.
I grasp thy strength, make it mine own,
My heart with peace is blest;
I lose my hold, and then comes down
Darkness, and cold unrest.
Let me no more my comfort draw
From my frail hold of thee,
In this alone rejoice with awe—-
Thy mighty grasp of me.
Out of that weak, unquiet drift
That comes but to depart,
To that pure heaven my spirit lift
Where thou unchanging art.
Lay hold of me with thy strong grasp,
Let thy almighty arm
In its embrace my weakness clasp,
And I shall fear no harm.
Thy purpose of eternal good
Let me but surely know;
On this I’ll lean—let changing mood
And feeling come or go—
Glad when thy sunshine fills my soul,
Not lorn when clouds o’ercast,
Since thou within thy sure control
Of love dost hold me fast .
—John Campbell Shairp