Recently I was stewarding at a wedding where the final hymn was this one:
Through all the changing scenes of life,
In trouble and in joy,
The praises of my God shall still
My heart and tongue employ.
Of his deliv’rance I will boast,
Till all that are distressed
From my example comfort take,
And charm their griefs to rest.
O magnify the Lord with me,
With me exalt his Name;
When in distress to him I called,
He to my rescue came.
The hosts of God encamp around
The dwellings of the just;
Deliv’rance he affords to all
Who on his succor trust.
O make but trial of his love;
Experience will decide
How blest they are, and only they,
Who in his truth confide.
Fear him, ye saints; and you will then
Have nothing else to fear:
Make you his service your delight,
He’ll make your wants his care.
The hymn is actually a paraphrase of Psalm 34 which is worth a read through too. I was really struck by the last verse. It seemed to cut right through the complexity of life in someway, and get right to the heart of the matter.
Fear him. Fear God. We don’t talk much about fearing God, but it is a theme that runs right through the bible. It’s not about a cringing fear that we have to tiptoe around God in case he suddenly explodes like an irascible old man. But it is a right fear of the One who holds our lives in his hands and who will bring down the final verdict on our lives. It is a fear that causes us to run to him, for the only place of safety from our God, who is a consuming fire, is his embrace.
If we really fear God, then all other fears fall into perspective. The fear of what others will think. The fear of failure. The fear of not measuring up. The fear of mistakes. The fear of loss. Because if we really fear God we will make his service our delight. And then our wants (i.e. the things we lack to serve him – our real needs) – he will make his care. His care. There is a childrens CD playing in our sons’ room right now with a song on it that has this line “remember, God knows what you need, remember to follow him first, and he’ll provide the rest…”)
Remembering that is hard right now in the fog of no sleep. In the fog of a baby waking twice each night to feed, and a 2 year old who wants the comfort of our big bed half way through the night. In the fog which results from broken night after broken night, and consequent exahustion. In the fog of figuring out how to get work done, and of how to go about looking for the next steps. In the fog of not getting done what should be done. So I put up this hymn as a great reminder of what it means to trust in God, and pray that I might do what it says.