O Savior Stay This Night With Me!

christ knocking on door

TheDiscipleMD

A few years ago the focus of a church meeting was the hymns of our faith. It brought me to reflect upon my favorite hymn. My favorite hymn today is not my favorite hymn of yesteryear. My favorite characters found in the scriptures have been changing, according to my age and life experiences. So too, my favorite hymns have changed over time due to life experiences. I recall from my early youth how I loved the majestic and powerful opening notes of the hymn “God of Our Fathers, Whose Almighty Hands”. I always loved hearing the organ open each verse with eight notes that reverberated throughout the chapel which seemed to encourage us Christian warriors to get ready for battle. It almost seemed like a “fight song” of sorts. I loved it so much that I asked if it could be sung at my missionary farewell as the opening song. And it was there, at my missionary farewell that I was introduced to a new favorite hymn, although, if my memory is correct, at the time it wasn’t found in the hymnal.

It is my earliest memory of hearing “Love One Another”. My Mother and sisters sang it! I loved it because of the simple melody and words. I was happy when this beautiful song was added years later to our hymns of praise. That hymn became my favorite for many years. But, as is the case with us all, life presents each with distinct challenges and obstacles. I don’t care how lucky or blessed you are in this life you will not get through it without being tested. For some the tests are numerous, mighty and for lengthy periods of time. Yet, for others they are short and intense. Either way, they test our resolve to be faithful and true. I am no different from most. Some of my challenges have been short and intense; others have been long and hard and continue to this day. Consequently, the inspirational power of some hymns come forward during those trials. Some seem to be written just for us!

I have gleaned great solace from listening and singing many of the church hymns over the years. None more so than my current favorite, “Abide with Me; ‘ Tis Eventide”. It contains within its verses the common occurrence in life of watching the day come to a close and preparing for a long night of darkness and loneliness. Anyone who has ever tackled a tough problem is aware that as darkness falls time seems to slow down. But somehow your mind speeds up as it becomes filled with the tough questions regarding your life, its direction and the trials before you. As your mind empties of the days activities, it starts to refill with the worries of your life. It can consume you! You are in need of hope! The first stanza of “Abide with Me; Tis Eventide” captures that feeling when it says:

Abide with me: ’tis eventide

The day is past and gone;

The shadows of the evening fall,

The night is coming on

It is the feeling of being alone, and without hope that make the impending darkness so forbidding. A gloomy night lies ahead and traveling it solo is not a pleasant thought. But, then comes a welcome guest and the cry of the chorus:

O Savior, stay this night with me;

Behold, ’tis eventide

O Savior, stay this night with me

Behold, ’tis eventide.

I wonder how many choruses of lamentations have been launched throughout history towards heaven as the shadows of evening fall and night is coming on. If you have ever had a sleepless night, you know how small problems become large ones and large ones become insurmountable. Sometimes it seems as though the gates of hell open up between the setting of the sun and its rising. Somewhere during that long night you need someone to hold onto. Someone you can lean on and someone who you know will understand your plight. That someone for me has been the Savior.

Abide with me; ’tis eventide

And lone will be the night

If I cannot commune with thee

Nor find in thee my light.

The darkness of the world, I fear,

Would in my home abide

I cannot speak for everyone but it has been my experience that light can be found in the midst of darkness when we take time to commune with the Savior. He will comfort us in our extremities. He will provide for us a shoulder to lean on, and the strength to carry on. He will give us the fortitude and resolve to make it through the night! I don’t know how it all works, nor do I really need to. I only know that as the dawn has broken on those kinds of nights for me, I have felt that the Savior has accepted my invitation to “stay this night with me” and I have made it through another night. The new day brings new challenges and new opportunities. But I know that the night will come again and I will be left to my thoughts. But, I have gained a testimony that as often as I have pled for Him to “abide with me”, He has stayed. I take great comfort in that knowledge, as I know there is always another night ahead.

 

 

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