Posted by: rcottrill | March 2, 2011

God Will Take Care of You

Words: Civilla Durfee Martin (b. Aug. 21, 1866; d. Mar. 9, 1948)
Music: Walter Stillman Martin (b. Mar. 8, 1862; d. Dec. 16, 1935)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Civilla Martin was a Canadian, born in Nova Scotia. She and her husband Walter collaborated on a number of gospel songs. The story of how this song came to be written is found in the Wordwise Hymns link. And the Cyber Hymnal reports that the hymn was used of God to transform the heart of J. C. Penny, founder of the American department store chain that bears his name.

Worry can be epidemic, even among Christians. So many things seem to stress and distress us, so much brings fretful anxiety into our lives. It is fine to say this shows a lack of faith. It may. But we can get ensnared by worry all the same. Sometimes it is worry about a specific thing–a dwindling bank accord, the deteriorating health of a spouse, and so on. Other times, it is a nameless dread that seems difficult to pin down.

If we’re not careful, it can happen to us as it did to Peter. When Jesus bid him come to Him, walking on the sea, he stepped out of the boat and began well. A miracle! But then, he got his eyes on the stormy waves–and apparently stopped looking to the Saviour. With that he began to sink (Matt. 14:23-33). Of course we can’t pretend that there aren’t difficulties and problems in our lives at times. But it’s a matter of focus. Where do we habitually turn our attention? To the problem? Or to the Lord?

There’s a little chorus by John Peterson that begins, “Why worry when you can pray?” And that’s certainly part of it, committing our circumstances to the Lord in believing and thankful prayer (Phil. 4:6-7). God will never abandon His own. He never ceases to provide for us, and we can bring our worries to Him with confidence. Civilla Martin’s song assures us that in times of toil, in times of testing and danger, or when we’re weary from our labours, indeed, as the refrain puts it, “through every day, o’er all the way,” we may be assured of God’s watchful care.

I commented on the third line of stanza CH-3 in the other Wordwise post, but it bears further comment. “Nothing you ask [in prayer] will be denied.” Do you believe that? I hope not. Sometimes our prayers are immature, and ill-considered. We ask for things that aren’t at all good for us. James talks about that. He says, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss [you ask for the wrong things, or for the wrong reasons], that you may spend it on your pleasures [satisfy your selfish, fleshly cravings]” (Jas. 4:3).

I’m sure Civilla Martin understood that. I doubt that she was of the “name it and claim it” (or “blab it and grab it”) school of theology. She does qualify the statement earlier in the stanza. But it is not made as clear as it might be. The stanza begins, “All you may need He will provide.” And it is in the definition and identification of that need that we can be assured of getting what we ask for. What do we really “need,” and why?

The Lord Jesus gets us close to it with His promise in John 14:13, “Whatever you ask in My name [on My authority, as one who belongs to Me], that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” Whatever we need in order to bring glory to God, He is ready to provide. But we are not always wise enough to know what that is. We make think we could better glorify God if we had a million dollars in the bank. But in the wisdom of a sovereign God, He knows better. He knows what we need is daily grace to serve Him in spite of, financial struggles, severe illness, or cruel persecution (cf. Paul’s experience, II Cor. 12:7-10).

Questions:
1) Perhaps you can think of other reasons why we are inclined to worry. What are some causes of worry?

2) The answer to worry certainly involves meditation on the Lord and on His promises, and the commitment of our troubles to Him in prayer. But what else? What are some practical and loving ways you could help a worried person?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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