I Cannot Tell

This hymn of the week expresses brilliantly the reality of being a Christian, and the reality of understanding more of the Bible, and more of God – there is so much that I cannot work out, but a few things I can confidently assert. It also sums up a blog post I was trying to write as an introduction to a series coming up on issues that Christians really should be prepared to say “I cannot tell” to one degree or other, and what part of those issues should get a ringing “But this I know.”

  1. I cannot tell why He, whom angels worship,
    Should set His love upon the sons of men,
    Or why, as Shepherd, He should seek the wand’rers,
    To bring them back, they know not how or when.
    But this I know, that He was born of Mary,
    When Bethl’hem’s manger was His only home,
    And that He lived at Nazareth and labored,
    And so the Savior, Savior of the world, is come.
  2. I cannot tell how silently He suffered,
    As with His peace He graced this place of tears,
    Or how His heart upon the Cross was broken,
    The crown of pain to three and thirty years.
    But this I know, He heals the broken-hearted,
    And stays our sin, and calms our lurking fear,
    And lifts the burden from the heavy laden,
    For yet the Savior, Savior of the world, is here.
  3. I cannot tell how He will win the nations,
    How He will claim His earthly heritage,
    How satisfy the needs and aspirations
    Of east and west, of sinner and of sage.
    But this I know, all flesh shall see His glory,
    And He shall reap the harvest He has sown,
    And some glad day His sun shall shine in splendor
    When He the Savior, Savior of the world, is known.
  4. I cannot tell how all the lands shall worship,
    When, at His bidding, every storm is stilled,
    Or who can say how great the jubilation
    When all the hearts of men with love are filled.
    But this I know, the skies will thrill with rapture,
    And myriad, myriad human voices sing,
    And earth to heaven, and heaven to earth, will answer:
    At last the Savior, Savior of the world, is King.

Those verses some up perfectly the good that we are holding on to in the journey (remember Sam and Frodo in Lord of the Rings?), however hard it gets, however painful now there can be a participation in this good ending.

A final question. I’d be really interested to know the answer to this: In your life journey what issues in your faith have you become less confident that you “know” the answer, and what have you become more confident of?

This entry was posted in Hymns.

3 comments on “I Cannot Tell

  1. Kath says:

    That, is the big question… and a very good question. I’ve never been all that sure about much (as you know!) but as I’ve got more miles under my belt in this journey with God thing I think I’ve got more sure about the simple truth that our lives are really all about being dearly loved children and living the life of love that being part of the family of God calls us to.

    I’m less sure that we need to fight every corner of our beliefs and less sure that we need to have everything sewn up (although I was never all that convinced of that anyway)

    I’m less sure what I think about hell,

    I’m really unconvinced that I have the answer to what God might be doing with our lives right now, I’m not sure that my life is meant to change the world. I’m more sure that God is doing something in the ordinary washing up life, in the details, in the mundane and in the simple call to love my neighbour.

    I’m less sure that I’m meant to do something grand, have a job that correctly reflects all my passions and gifts or even have a job title at all. I’m more sure that God likes the mess and I’m totally more sure that he can redeem the most hideous of situations.

    I’m less sure I ever want to live my life without God and more sure that I cannot do any of this life of love thing without him at work. I’m more sure he is at work somehow.

    I’m less sure that I know what will happen when I die but I’m more confident that Jesus is the one walking me through this life into the next.

    I’m less sure that I am right (well some of the time!) and I’m more sure of my arrogance and pride. I’m more sure of the stubborn love of God as he holds tight to me.

    I’m more sure that I need Him to enable me to forgive, love and dance through this life.

    There you go, I wasn’t sure on much for a long time but as I stumble on I become more and more sure of his grace holding me, refusing to let me go and enabling me to love.

    Must remember that!

  2. Anna F says:

    I second most of that! And that I love the Arnolds – past and present!! But good questions to muse on, Roz and Mark….I like it.. x

  3. Anna F says:

    Okay so I thought about this as I was hanging out the washing, and pushing the buggy, and tidying the washing away, and in the dentist’s chair yesterday…. And here are a few thoughts:
    I am more sure of how desperately I want my youth group to grasp a relationship with Jesus for themselves, but less sure of how/when to steer them towards that.
    I am more sure of how to befriend and show empathy to people who don’t know Jesus, but less sure of how to speak the truth when their statements of unbelief/unforgiveness/confusion arise.
    I am more sure that our nation needs good marriages and strong families, but less sure that I’m ready-equipped to embody that.
    I am more sure of my skills and abilities as an employee but less sure of how to convince new employers to hire me.
    I am more sure of how necessary excellent friends are to my happiness but less sure that I’ll be able to leave regrets about relationships behind.
    I am more sure of my need for great hymns and wisdom to resound in my head day-by-day. And This I Know.

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