Hymns of the faith strengthen our resolve
Published 10:39 am Wednesday, February 15, 2023
By Jan Penton-Miller
It’s quiet here in the early hours of morning before all the world awakens. On this chilly morning I feel blessed to sit by my warm fire, cup in hand, contemplating the day to come. My faithful dachshund, Missy, always arises with me even if it’s just to sit near and fall asleep again peaceful in the knowledge that her master is near.
As is my custom I spend the first part of almost every morning quietly sitting with my Savior. The old hymns of the faith come back to me in these quiet moments of refreshing, and I feel a kinship with the ones who penned the lyrics many years ago. This morning my heart turns to “Are Ye Able”. This hymn was written by the late Earl Marlatt in 1926.
The lyrics begin with Christ asking if we are able to be crucified with him. The next line really strikes me because it describes my response on most days. It says the sturdy dreamers answered to the death we follow thee. The words that speak to my heart are “sturdy dreamers” because my best intentions in the morning are often just a dream by the end of the day, but yet I dream on.
In reality, none of us measure up no matter how hard we try, but that is where the good news of Jesus comes in for me. Of course, we are to strive for a life well lived. But the absolutely beautiful part of being a Christ follower is the knowledge that our sins and failures were forgiven on that cruel cross so many years ago. With this knowledge I can press on even when the way is weary knowing that I never walk alone.
This brings to mind another hymn called “In The Garden” penned by Charles Austin Miles in 1912. The refrain speaks of moments spent walking in the garden with Jesus. The stillness of the garden and the voice of my Savior beckon me as they apparently beckoned this writer many years past. What a joy.
On the days when I rush into activities without these quiet moments I can definitely feel the difference. Usually it’s when my head hits the pillow at night that I realize my day would have gone much more smoothly if I had only spent a little time sitting at the Savior’s feet.
It is there that I receive the strength I need to do the hard things. To choose to love the unlovely is not something that comes easily, but when I spend time in prayer and Bible reading in the morning the annoyances of life shrink in my mind. I can be gracious when others are not. But just watch out if I’m cut off in traffic by a wild driver without filling my tank up with some Jesus. It may not be pretty!
“I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13 KJV)