Saturday, 1 January 2011

O Love beyond compare

For many of our friends at Airdrie Baptist, 2011 brings some serious health concerns. A much-loved member of our church family died yesterday, making this time even more poignant than usual. 

I read the words of a new-year prayer from the Valley of Vision posted by Tim Challies and found them particularly weighty given all that we are facing. They articulate the Christian's gratitude for the year past, and a real gospel-centred confidence for the year ahead, without being twee, naive or inauthentic.

How thankful we are that in all of the uncertainties of tomorrow, we can be absolutely certain that: 

great is his love toward us,
    and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. (Ps 117.2)

Here's the prayer:

O Love beyond Compare,
Thou art good when thou givest,
when thou takest away,
when the sun shines upon me,
when night gathers over me.

Thou hast loved me before the foundation of the world,
and in love didst redeem my soul;
Thou dost love me still,
in spite of my hard heart, ingratitude, distrust.

Thy goodness has been with me another year,
leading me through a twisting wilderness,
in retreat helping me to advance,
when beaten back making sure headway.
Thy goodness will be with me in the year ahead;
I hoist sail and draw up anchor,
With thee as the blessed pilot of my future as of my past.

I bless thee that thou hast veiled my eyes to the waters ahead.
If thou hast appointed storms of tribulation,
thou wilt be with me in them;
If I have to pass through tempests of persecution and temptation,
I shall not drown;
If I am to die,
I shall see thy face the sooner;
If a painful end is to be my lot,
grant me grace that my faith fail not;
If I am to be cast aside from the service I love,
I can make no stipulation;
Only glorify thyself in me whether in comfort or trial,
as a chosen vessel meet always for thy use.

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