O Love that wilt not let me go

“I have done what is righteous and just; do not leave me to my oppressors.” -Psalm 119:121

Have you ever felt alone? A spouse dies, a friend abandons you, or no one around you quite understands your feelings or circumstances. At some point we all have felt alone. Secondary infertility and living in a special needs world is certainly a struggle of loneliness at times for me when this isn’t the norm for most. No matter how loving and gracious family and friends are, there is no “fixing” it. Yet staying in self pity or despair is just how Satan oppresses God’s children. The remedy then is to go to God in our distress, like the psalmist does. God will never forsake His own no matter how abandoned we might feel. When Satan tempts us to despair, we must ask, “what is true?”, “what is God’s character?”, “what are His promises toward me?”, “can I trust the Lord even in suffering?”

In God’s loving sovereignty not one hair on our heads is touched without His permission. Nothing happens outside of His will, even the free will of man’s sinful choices. This too is in the Lord’s foreknowledge. There is so much you and I can’t possibly begin to understand in how the Lord operates. Somehow the Lord lovingly purposes pain, oppression and sorrow so that we might not rely on ourselves but on Him. It is death to a dream, to self, so that we can have life in sweeter, deeper, richer fellowship with the One who loves us best. 

The psalmist in this verse honestly recalls his own behavior before the Lord. This isn’t a moment of spiritual pride but of examining himself and finding he is blameless, much like Job when he was afflicted. This doesn’t mean he has never sinned, but his character is consistent with holiness. The psalmist pursues and practices holy living. He goes to find relief from God, not men, and leaves His enemies in the Lord’s Hands. When we need help, who do we run to first? Following the writer’s example, we too can go to God with all our needs, desires and pleas. It is also wise to leave our oppressors, physical or spiritual, in God’s Hands. Our Lord will continually deliver His beloved from the slings and arrows of this life with His Power and Promises by sharpening our eternal perspective, refining our faith.

Grace upon grace,


Growing deeper: Isaiah 40:27-31; Romans 8:28; 2 Corinthians 4:8-18

My favorite hymn of the moment is ‘O Love that wilt not let me go’ . It is taken from a poem written by George Matheson (1842-1906). He penned these words from a personal heartbreak. As a young man, Matheson was engaged to be married but found out he was going blind. There was nothing the doctors could do. His fiancee did not want to be married to a blind man so she left him. Out of his pain of rejection we have this beautiful hymn. Suffering in God’s economy is never wasted. I hope this hymn blesses you as it has me.

Ode to Joy

I stumbled upon a video the other day of something I have never seen before. It appears to be just one musician in a public square, playing for a little girl who places a coin in his hat. He begins to play Beethoven’s Ode to Joy and what happens in the next few minutes is beautiful. I won’t spoil it for you, except to say it reminds me a bit of what Heaven is like. The Christian hymn Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee, written by Henry Van Dyke, is set to the music from Ode to Joy. I couldn’t help but think of those words during this video. Think of it, one day thousands upon thousands of Christians will lift up our voices in song to praise our Heavenly Father. Heaven is not at all boring contrary to the lies we’ve been sold in our culture. We won’t be sitting on marshmallow clouds plucking harps, yawning away the day. Heaven is one big adventure without sin entangling us. Like Adam and Eve in the Garden, we too will enjoy sweet, unhindered fellowship with our Creator. I believe we will get to explore the new Heaven and new Earth, just as our first parents had free reign over God’s Creation except of the one tree. But I digress…

Even though this video is an orchestrated ad for a Spanish banking company, I was moved to tears nonetheless. 

Here is the video: Ode to Joy

Grace upon grace,


Dear refuge of my weary soul,

As I was reading through my Devotional Psalter in Psalm 62, this hymn-writer in the commentary grabbed my attention. I’ve never heard of Anne Steele, but her life is remarkable. She experienced loss and heartache over her lifetime yet penned deeply wise words. Anne lost her mother when she was three, then became an invalid after an injury early in life. Her fiancé tragically drowned in a river the day before their wedding! How is it we can keep going like Anne, in the midst of anxiety, loss, financial strain, disease, political wars, and weariness?

Her answer was to look to God. She saw Him as her Refuge.

“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation. He alone is my Rock and my Salvation, my Fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.” (Psalm 62:1-2)


This is the hymn Anne was able to write because of where she placed her hope. My desire is you are encouraged and ministered to today, with these words, and by remembering Who is holding onto you.

Dear refuge of my weary soul,

On Thee, when sorrows rise,

On Thee, when waves of trouble roll,

My fainting hope relies.

To Thee I tell each rising grief,

For Thou alone canst heal; 

Thy Word can bring a sweet relief

For every pain I feel.

Hast Thou not bid me seek Thy face,

And shall I seek in vain?

And can the ear of sovereign grace

Be deaf when I complain?

No, still the ear of sovereign grace 

Attends the mourner’s prayer;

O may I ever find access

To breathe my sorrows there.

Anne Steele (1716-1778)

Grace upon grace,


Christmas Year Round

Christmas is less than 10 weeks away. Can you believe it? Me neither. This year seems to have flown by. I’ve noticed the older I get the faster time moves, and the holidays sneak up on the calendar every year. Christmas melodies usually fill my car by summertime (I know, I know), but this year I didn’t gravitate toward Bing Crosby crooning ‘White Christmas’ or other commercialized seasonal music. Maybe it’s because the world feels heavy lately, increasing with each day. Like a needlepoint on a compass pulling north, my heart is best at rest singing back to the Bright and Morning True Star through Christmas hymns. Songs about Jesus usually reserved for Christmastime come bubbling up.


Have you ever stopped to listen to the words in a song you like? Maybe like me, you’ve gotten some of the lyrics wrong before. I found a little clarity with that by looking up “error pining” from ‘O Holy Night’. For the longest time I wasn’t sure what that line was… “ere repining”? What’s that? When I learned the real words, the song became more meaningful after I comprehended the full significance.

My mouth springs open as I recall the words, listening carefully to the truths in each line. Christy Nockels caroling ‘O Holy Night’ evokes awe and gratitude each time I hear it. Tears stream down my face at the most inopportune moments (like in the car) but I lift my hands and heart up to worship anyway.

Music is an asset to the Christian life. When we understand first of all what we’re singing and Who we’re singing to, our voices honor Him in praise. Singing also provides an opportunity for spiritual transformation to take root deeper in our hearts.


The Bible tells us of God singing His love over us (Zephaniah 3:17). I also believe we’re meant to sing back to Him. Christmas hymns in particular have comforted me because they speak of such hope and joy of what has happened and what is to come. It causes an eagerness and excitement to rise up in believers quite unlike anything else.

Christmas is easily bombarded with overall excess, distracting from the real reason we celebrate. Songs of praise refocus the posture of my heart – it helps me remember again. All of the to-do lists my mind is cluttered with slowly fall away long enough to see clearly the things that are really important – things of eternal value.


It doesn’t mean my daily responsibilities are to be neglected, but I do them now with a different mindset. This, more than anything, combats an anxious spirit in me. The world won’t come crashing down if everything on my list isn’t checked off, but how I have treated people in the course of my day and the attitude of my heart does matter.

I hope you can worship Jesus as Savior with a full heart at rest in the bustle of the upcoming season. Even when outside circumstances evolve into chaos, the inner man is still at peace. Practicing this attitude of Christmas worship now and throughout the year helps slow our spirits to God’s rhythm. The Son of Man came to earth in the unseen, quiet whispers. I think it’s a lesson for us to look for Him not so much in the grand and loud, but through less fanfare.

Tune our hearts to sing His praise now, as we will into eternity. And as we sing, the truth is able to calm us and we remember what is so easy to forget. Jesus is with us now, living inside each believer, and He is worthy of our worship. So we sing for joy as we wait in confident hope with clear eyes and an expectant heart for the rest of the Story to unfold.


Grace upon grace,