Abide with Me

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Abide with me; falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers, fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, abide with me.

Thou on my head, in early youth didst smile;
And, though rebellious, and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, though I oft left Thee,
On to the close Lord, abide with me.

I need Thy presence, every passing hour.
What but Thy grace, can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless
Ills have no weight, tears lose their bitterness
Where is thy sting death? Where grave thy victory?
I triumph still, abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross, before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, Lord, abide with me.¹

When human comforts failed to reach my grieving soul, I triumphed still. 

When in my quiet home I felt the passing of each hour—no, minute—I triumphed still. 

When death, so near, blanketed my sight, I triumphed still. 

When that enemy drained my firstborn’s life, I triumphed still. 

Triumph is a promise from the Lord for His own: “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). One commentator writes on this verse,

even if the last resurrection is still future, the basis of the victory is a present gift, providing grounds for present exultation and thanksgiving. It is not a mere present of future certainty about resurrection; it also expresses the present gift of grace to believers for whom the destructive potential of sin, the law, and death as a terrifying prospect has been broken.²

Gratitude in the present moment can be found because part of Christ’s gift to us is the ability, this day, to look squarely at death and know decidedly within our souls that ours is the victory. The certainty of the future resurrection means that sin and death need no longer be feared. The fulfillment is still future, but the imprint of the future in the present is itself a triumph to be celebrated. 

With the present ministry of the Holy Spirit that is directing believing hearts to the truth, Christ abides with us through His living words that grow roots within our hearts. The hole left by the ravaging enemy, death, cannot triumph in us—no, the hole becomes a wider, deeper venue for the holy roots of Christ’s truth to grow in us until we are filled. This reality is akin to laughing in the face of the enemy, death—that it has no lasting hold upon the believer in the present, and it will not have its way in the future. 

As Hope Moms, we have known real pain. We can also know more of Christ through this pain in the goodness of His abiding presence. For the truth of victory is not eclipsed by so near an experience with death as for our own children to have fallen asleep. We and our children, with Christ as our Head, triumph still. This truth is comfort with full reach into the soul; it is hope that climbs above despair; it is triumph that prevents being overcome; and it is victory that excludes the enemy’s domination. 

And so, days after death was cradled within my own body, I read these words and exulted in my inner spirit:

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless
Ills have no weight, tears lose their bitterness
Where is thy sting death? Where grave thy victory?
I triumph still, abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross, before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, Lord, abide with me.

Though the memory of death may be a companion, Christ’s victory overpowers the night. And, like Charles Spurgeon, we who are members of Christ can say to death—the shadow that will flee—“you do not win; ours is the victory”:

Death, we tell you again that your sting is taken away as to the friends we have lost. The widow, weeping, tells you that she does not feel your sting, for her husband is in heaven and she is following him as speedily as time can carry her. The mother tells you, Death, that through Divine Grace you have no sting in her thoughts concerning her infants. She rejoices to know that at her breast there once did hang immortal spirits that now behold the Savior's face! And we say to you, Death, concerning all beloved ones who have gone, that we sorrow not over them and would not—
            “Break their placid sleep,
             Nor lure them from their home above.”
We devoutly thank the Father of spirits, who has safely housed them beyond fear of damage and brought them to the desired haven where no rough wind or tempestuous wave shall ever rock their keel again. “Blessed,” we say, as we repeat the voice from Heaven, “blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.”


¹Source: http://hymnbook.igracemusic.com/hymns/abide-with-me
²Anthony C. Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians: A Commentary on the Greek Text. New International Greek Testament Commentary. (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 2000), 1304.
³Source: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/spurgeon/sermons51.xiv.html#xiv-p0.1


This post was originally published at Hope Mommies.

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