Posted by: rcottrill | June 29, 2011

Have Thine Own Way

Words: Adelaide Addison Pollard (b. Nov. 27, 1862; d. Dec. 20, 1934)
Music: Adelaide, by George Coles Stebbins (b. Feb. 26, 1846; d. Oct. 6, 1945)

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

It has been a struggle almost since the beginning of time. A battle between rebellious sinners and a sovereign God. Between my way, and God’s way. The prophet Isaiah describes sinners this way: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way” (Isa. 53:6). Or, as the NLT has it, “All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s paths to follow our own.”

The “rich fool” in a parable of the Lord Jesus epitomizes this self-centred, self-directed life. Looking at the personal pronouns in the passage, we can see he definitely had “I” trouble!

Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. “And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ “So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. ‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ “But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ (Lk. 12:16-20).

That man failed to recognize that all the blessings he enjoyed came from God, or were obtained by the strength and ability God had given him. He also failed to realize that God is sovereign over all, and failed to trust the Lord with his tomorrows. It is James who contrasts the proper attitude toward the future.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit;” whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills [Lord willing, if the Lord pleases], we shall live and do this or that” (Jas. 4:13-15).

But, some may ask, what if what we want to do is serve the Lord? What if it’s a good thing, that will be to the eternal benefit of others? The answer is that, even there, God is sovereign. It was the Lord who put His hand on Paul (then called Saul), and sent him out on his first missionary journey (Acts 13:2-4). And it was the Lord who, on a later trip, forbade him and his companions to travel into Asia (Acts 16:6-7). It wasn’t God’s time, yet, for work in that area.

The writer of our hymn experienced something similar. (You can read her story in the Wordwise Hymns link.) Someone has said that God not only directs our steps, but our stops. We may not see the reasons at the time, but in His infinite wisdom, God oversees our lives. We’ll find true meaning and fulfilment, and God’s greatest blessings, in submission to His perfect will. As a skilled artisan molds a piece of clay into something of beauty or utility, so the Lord shapes our lives for His glory.

“Indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honour and another for dishonour?” (Rom. 9:20-21; cf. Jer. 18:1-6).

CH-1) Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

CH-4) Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit ’till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.

1) Can you identify some difficult past experience in your own life that has opened up new doors of opportunity to serve the Lord, now?

2) Take a look at the speech of the rich fool, again. Imagine for a moment that he was a godly believer, instead. How would his speech (vs. 17-19) be different?

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


  1. Thanks for leaving suggestions for hymns on corporate prayer on my blog. I had never thought of “What a Friend” in that way. And interestingly my hymnal has “Sweet Hour of Prayer” completely in the singular (that calls ME from a world of care) – I wonder which way is the original. And I appreciate you sharing the Crosby song – hadn’t heard of that one before. Have bookmarked your site. I have written a few similar blogs on hymns and will plan to check out your site when I write new ones in the future.

    • H-m-m… Actually, I think you’re right about “Sweet Hour of Prayer” being in the singular. (Could be easily changed, though.) And there is this stanza, not found in most hymnals, that does seem to emphasize the joy of meeting together for prayer:

      Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
      The joys I feel, the bliss I share,
      Of those whose anxious spirits burn
      With strong desires for thy return!
      With such I hasten to the place
      Where God my Savior shows His face,
      And gladly take my station there,
      And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

      As to “‘Tis the Blessed Hour of Prayer,” you can check it out here, on the Cyber Hymnal

      Thanks for your interest. God bless.


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