I wrote this in April for some dear friends as they were being brought through what the Puritans called “The Valley of Vision”; seeing them as they clung fast to the Lord was like having one’s own high views of how we were doing spiritually beaten down. It’s one of my favourites, but not in the least for its poetic value.
My God, O help my unbelief,
In this where my fearful lot is cast,
That Thou hast formed a glorious plan,
To reveal Thy love from eternity passed
That Thy love deemed it expedient
To place Thyself upon the Cross
And was it not love that brought me here,
That I like Thee may suffer loss?
My love regarded not His pain,
For joy that was held before His face,
Oh help me see, my pain Thy mercy
And in my every tear Thy grace
Before Thy love’s consuming wound
I shrank away at slightest sting
But now in holy resignation
With joy I give Thee everything
Blood and sweat did greatly mingle
That I only tears of Joy might know
Thou givest me to share in sufferings
That I might more Thy likeness show
The pain remains, but death is broken
Love hath made that Reaper sweet
For now he beareth no more his victims,
But happy captives to Thy feet.
In these our foulest tribulations,
Thy faithfulness in beauty shines
In every cup of bitter waters,
I taste love’s sweet blood-bought wine
If my spark might be fire for Thee
I scarce regard there any pain
If an inch be added to my love’s stature,
My greatest loss is highest gain.
All ye heaven’s, praise the Beloved
Widely doth His sweet mercy flow
In His goodness He doth sculpt me
There’s sweetness in every hammer’s blow
Oh ye angels, praise the Father
Or in wonder stand amazed
Worship Him in every manner,
On His goodness fondly gaze.
Jesus teach me more to love Thee
Thou hadst tried me, try me still,
release I now my foolish hand-holds
For my portion be Thy will.
Blessed shall be my mourning spirit
For Thou art my promised comforter
Blessed be my wealthless soul now
For I have Thy riches when I am poor.
While my Christ with such love guards me
All within my soul is well
Let every earth’s embrace be empty,
Safely in Thy arms I dwell
Oh Thou angels hearken to me
You who know His loving face
Though on earth my face be tearful
Praise my God with all Thy praise.
Let all the devils rightly taunt me
When in prosperity I fall
But watch as Hades is dumbfounded
When pain doth make me more Love’s thrall
Oh my soul regard the heavens
Gaze upon His stars again
Yet not one of these can measure
To His glory in thy pain
Praise, oh my soul, thy King, thy Lover
Thy Elder Brother and thy Friend
Praise aloud, Whose name is Faithful
For He is faithful to the end
Then Ah, that end, tis fast approaching
When we must trade our faith for sight
Then shall we see the joyful dawning
Which ends forever weeping night.
Out of these ashes, beauty will rise,
Sorrow will be turned to joy,
All we’ve been hoping and longing for,
Soon will appear….