Monday, January 13, 2014

01. Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing -- Trust

(via Pinterest)
I’ve been singing a new song this week. I felt challenged to substitute my secular Pandora stations for a bit. I try to only listen to music that I’d feel comfortable with all my loved ones knowing I listened to. I had slipped a little bit away from that standard, letting a few songs that weren’t exactly uplifting, but had great beats, into my earbuds. So with the new year, I decided I would try to have a sort of fast … just to see if anything changed when I cut it out completely. I certainly wasn’t expecting the drastic change that God gave me.
I woke up almost every morning this past week with a hymn stuck in my head. Not the same one, but a variety. I don’t have as much variety as some might have - I switched from a small, hymnal-toting, Baptist congregation to a large, contemporary, Evangelical Free church when I was six. So my memory holds mostly classics, like ‘Be Thou My Vision,’ ‘Amazing Grace,’ ‘Jesus Paid it All,’ and the like. These are the songs that replaced ones of modern singer-songwriters. I was shocked. But the thing that shocked me most was how much I liked it. I felt comfortable singing my heart out. I was deeply encouraged. I was able to encourage others with the songs I had in mind and heart.
Being the talkative sort, I mentioned this, in much briefer words, to a dear, sweet friend that I love. She challenged me to dig deeper into these hymns, to see what God might be trying to tell me through them; to write out or closely read the lyrics, and examine my heart and seek His. I was inspired by that alone, but she didn’t leave it at that. Later, she texted me a list of questions to reflect on as I studied these hymns; questions she felt that the Lord had led her to send. As I read them over, I found myself profoundly agreeing to her conclusion. He wanted to talk with me, for sure.
My afternoon found me sitting on my bed, with hot tea, a laptop primed to look up definitions, a hymnal, a fresh journal, my Bible, a cat, and a pen. I turned the hymnal pages to “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” This is what filled my journal afterwards:
“Come, Thou Fount of every blessing, 
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace.”
Openly inviting God, the only Fountain of every blessing, to tune my heart.
Tune: verb - 
adjust (a musical instrument) to the correct or uniform pitch.
The adjustment can be painful. I have to fully give up my desires; the tunes my heart once sang, to simply sing His grace. I often forget that line, and expect the song to go, “sing Thy praise.” It made more sense to me, that my heart would sing praises … how does one even sing grace?
I searched for an adequate definition of grace, but none would do it justice. No human tongue can. So maybe this is why it is our hearts, not our mouths, that must sing? Maybe this is why we need tuning? “If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.” (How He Loves by John Mark McMillan) We’re sinking in it; drowning beneath its beautiful weight. Try describing the water when you’re drowning in it. When you’re that swept up in something, at times you can only describe what it does to you; how it permeates every ounce of your being.
This hymn acknowledges that that the greatest of every blessing is grace. It doesn’t say, “tune my heart to sing Thy truth.” It could, but it doesn’t. The author of this hymn must have known that we are so utterly out of tune; that with every heartbeat, we need reminded of what He did for us, and all He gave to us … that wild and wonderful grace. We need it desperately. Oh, to have a heartbeat that is tuned to sing His grace, always!
“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” - John 10:28
4) Can I trust God? (one of the ten questions from her)
To tune my heart, to keep His promises, to protect me, sustain me, never change … can I trust Him in everything? The answer is yes. He holds me in His very hand, protecting me from any who would try to snatch me out. Even protecting me from my scared self.
“Streams of mercy, never ceasing,  
Call for songs of loudest praise.”
He has saved me. He saves me daily. I can trust Him. Therefore, I must praise Him, at the top of my lungs. No other response is sufficient. He must receive all the glory and the praise that I can utter. He alone is worthy, and He is worthy of my trust. So why do I worry, when I should be singing?
“Teach me some melodious sonnet, 
Sung by flaming tongues above! 
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it, 
Mount of Thy redeeming love.”
I can never learn to sing this sonnet on my own. Not in my depravity; not in my humanity. The songs of His grace are above me. Lord, teach me!
I am fixed upon His mount; the mount of His love. Nothing can move me from it. There is nothing I can do that will make Him not love me, or not want to save me. This truth is so freeing! I can trust Him. I am fixed on the the mount of His love. Nothing can take me from His hand. He is with me. He is for me. I am loved.
“O to grace how great a debtor,  
Daily I’m constrained to be! 
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, {chain or manacle, used to restrain} 
Bind my wand’ring heart to Thee. 
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, 
Prone to leave the God I love. 
Take my heart, O take and seal it, 
Seal it for Thy courts above.”
This is my paraphrasing of that: I cannot escape my debt to grace. Tie me up; chain me to Your goodness. Secure my heart to You, lest I run away again. Don’t let me go! I have the sick tendency to leave You at my leisure; to seek some other, lesser love. I can feel that this awful thing is true of me. I am likely to leave the One I love again and again. Close my heart off to any desires but for Your presence, Your house, Lord.
I fail to trust You. I seek other “treasures.” Actively bind me to Your heart, Lord. Let me wander no more. Fill me with desires ever only for you.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways, submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” - Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)