Hear the grateful song

March 28th, 2010

At the end of the day yesterday, Joe and I listened to the Haven A Cappella version of the first three verses of this hymn on CD (good and LOUD and more than once) and it must have kept playing in my mind all night, because it was still there before I was all the way awake this morning.  One of the reasons I love this hymn so much is that it covers such a range of my own experiences.  And it seems to be almost determined in its jubilance.  I can identify with that, too.  Jubilance is not one of the characteristics that comes naturally to me as I make my way through my daily tasks!

The night before, we sang this hymn as a family for the first time since we received Verity’s diagnosis.  Instead of giving it full voice as I formerly could, my throat kept closing up around the meaning of these words for me and my little kicking Verity, in real life right now~

Sing praise to God Who reigns above,
the God of all creation
The God of pow’r, the God of love,
The God of our salvation.
With healing balm my soul He fills
And ev’ry faithless murmur stills:

To God all praise and glory!

[Yes, faithless murmurs, and no, I’m not floating through each day in a state of perpetual, flawless sanctitude.  The other night, Joe was filling out the census form and remarked that he wasn’t going to finish filling out some parts until he knew whether Verity would be born before April 1st.  I replied that he may as well go ahead and fill it out because if Verity was born before April 1st, she would die.  Somewhat surprised, Joe started to say that he thought I was past the point in pregnancy…and wasn’t Michelle Duggar…when I broke in sharply, “Michelle Duggar’s baby doesn’t have Down syndrome and a heart defect like my baby does.”

***bows head in shame***]

The Lord is never far away,
But through all grief distressing,
An ever present help and stay,
Our peace and joy and blessing.
As with a mother’s tender hand,
He leads His own, His chosen band:

To God all praise and glory!

[For some reason, the thought of four therapists coming to our house twice a week from the time Verity is still an infant, extra activities with her in between therapy sessions, the potential need for long-term pumping and dealing with feeding issues, many medical appointments, new medical information and jargon to learn, the emotional adjustments that come after birth compounded by extra stresses like being in the hospital separated from the rest of the family, all the while trying to keep the necessities of big family life taken care of properly….all this weight feels to me like an absurd impossibility….that I can roll right back off my mind!  Because God is not leading us there Right Now!  If and when He does, He will be tender.  From the time of my birth until now, there has not been one break in the continual kindness of the Lord toward me.]

I cried to Him in time of need,
Lord God, O hear my calling!
For death He gave me life indeed
And kept my feet from falling.

For this my thanks shall endless be;
O thank Him, thank our God with me.
To God all praise and glory!

[Yes!  YES!!!]

What God’s almighty pow’r hath made,
His gracious mercy keepeth;

By morning dawn or evening shade,
His watchful eye ne’er sleepeth;
Within the kingdom of His might
Lo!  All is just and all is right.

To God all praise and glory!

[The first line said to me, “God’s almighty power has made this Verity whom you love.  His gracious mercy is keeping her.”

The second line I emphasized is a statement of faith.  Faith, as in, “the evidence of things not seen.”  But in spite of all I can see in this world that is unjust and wrong, like the existence of groups of people who believe that everyone with Down syndrome should be rounded up and eliminated, I believe this statement of faith.  I believe it along with the Christian farmer whose atheist neighbor mocked him when the Christian’s harvest was puny in contrast with the atheist’s abundance.  “Where is your God now?”  he taunted.  The Christian’s unruffled answer?  “God doesn’t settle all His accounts in November.”]

Thus all my toilsome way along,
I sing aloud His praises,
That men may hear the grateful song
My voice, unwearied, raises.
Be joyful in the Lord, my heart,
Both soul and body, bear your part:

To God all praise and glory!

[On the CD, they changed the word “toilsome” to the word “gladsome.”  That didn’t ring true for me, so I stuck with this version.  Both my soul and my body are easily wearied.  But God is giving my soul and my body a task to do for Him, and I so much want to be like Mary.  “Behold the maidservant of the Lord!  Let it be to me according to your word.”  And with Mary, I want my soul to magnify the Lord and my spirit to rejoice in God my Savior.  This was not some esoteric theory for her; she was surrendering herself, body and soul, to be used of God.  And it is not an esoteric theory for me, either.]

Ye who confess Christ’s holy name
To God give praise and glory!
Ye who the Father’s pow’r proclaim
To God give praise and glory!
All idols underfoot be trod,
The Lord is God!  The Lord is God!

To God all praise and glory!

[Including the most favored idol of self.]

Then come before His presence now
And banish fear and sadness;
To your Redeemer pay your vow
And sing with joy and gladness:
Though great distress my soul befell,
The Lord my God did all things well.
To God all praise and glory!

[Yes, life holds great distress.  But looking at the things which are not seen, the eternal things, this distress is a light, momentary affliction that is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.  He has done, is doing, and will do all things well!]

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One Response to “Hear the grateful song”

  1. Lisa says:

    Such a beautiful hymn. After reading this post this morning, I had it in my head all day :) God does do all things well and He will surely lead you through each step and as you take those steps, you’ll be amazed at how what seemed so overwhelming just comes naturally by His grace. And then He gets all the praise and glory! I’m so glad to see how the Lord is ministering to your heart in this time.

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