Posted by: rcottrill | July 25, 2014

If Jesus Goes with Me, I’ll Go

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Words: Charles Austin Miles (b. Jan. 7, 1868; d. Mar. 10, 1946)
Music: Charles Austin Miles

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Austin Miles)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: This gospel song was first published in 1908.

The song has a worthwhile message. It seems strange to me that few hymn books include it, while many use another of Miles’s creations, In the Garden. The latter is rife with virtually meaningless sentiment–especially when those who use it have no idea what garden is being referred to. (For further comments see the page on In the Garden.)

The assurance expressed in the present hymn is based on the promise contained in God’s Word that the Lord Jesus Christ is unfailingly present with His followers, and will be forever. This promise is part of the Great Commission, found in various forms in the Gospels and Acts.

“Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen” (Matt. 28:18-20). “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk. 16:15; cf. Lk. 24:46-48; Jn. 17:18; 20:21; Acts 1:8).

This wonderful fact being so, wherever the Lord leads us, wherever we go to invest our lives in His service, He is with us, and will bless us by His grace.

CH-1) It may be in the valley, where countless dangers hide;
It may be in the sunshine that I, in peace, abide;
But this one thing I know—if it be dark or fair,
If Jesus is with me, I’ll go anywhere!

If Jesus goes with me, I’ll go anywhere!
’Tis heaven to me, where’er I may be, if He is there!
I count it a privilege here, His cross to bear,
If Jesus goes with me, I’ll go anywhere!

Anywhere! Anywhere in obedience to the Lord, confident that if He sends us, He will also provide for us. Abraham took that on faith, leaving Chaldea and “he went out [at God’s command] not knowing where he was going” (Heb. 11:8). Philip did too. He left a successful evangelistic ministry in the city of Samaria, to go out to a lonely desert road at God’s command (Acts 8:26-27).

Austin Miles contrasts the foreign missionary who leaves home and family to travel to some distant place, carrying the gospel, with those who don’t travel far from their home. Both have a ministry for Christ, both have a place to fill.

CH-2) It may be I must carry the blessèd Word of life
Across the burning deserts to those in sinful strife;
And though it be my lot to bear my colours there,
If Jesus goes with me, I’ll go anywhere!

CH-3) But if it be my portion to bear my cross at home,
While others bear their burdens beyond the billow’s foam,
I’ll prove my faith in Him–confess His judgments fair,
If Jesus stays with me, I’ll stay anywhere!

We must not think that a ministry in familiar surroundings is somehow inferior to one far away, facing another language and culture. Nor is one necessarily easier than the other. Each is best if that is where God wants us. He has gifted each differently, and placed us accordingly.

I have a friend who, in her early years, was convinced the Lord wanted her to go to Africa as a missionary. But it never happened. Instead, he gave her a vital ministry of prayer support for missions and missionaries, here at home. Those in service far away need many on the home front who will encourage them, pray for them, and support them materially. “As his part is who goes down to the battle, so shall his part be who stays by the supplies; they shall share alike” (I Sam. 30:24).

CH-4) It is not mine to question the judgment of my Lord,
It is but mine to follow the leadings of His Word;
But if to go or stay, or whether here or there,
I’ll be, with my Saviour, content anywhere!

Questions:
1) Where does the Lord want you to serve Him today? (And how will you serve Him today?)

2) What servant of Christ can you pray for today, and possibly contact to encourage him or her?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Austin Miles)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


Responses

  1. I really loved to sing this song for many years until it began to stick in my throat when I came to the “If”. I changed it to “since” because it dawned on me that He promised not to leave or forsake me and I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit so there is no”if” about it.

    • Interesting comment. And I agree…to a point. I too am confident that the Lord is with me, just as He promised (Matt. 28:20). No “if” or maybe about it. However, I don’t think I’d personally change the wording of the song, and here’s why. I’m pretty sure Austin Miles was using the word “if” in a kind of rhetorical way. He wasn’t expressing doubt, but rather insisting that the only condition on which he’d venture on his pilgrim way would be if the Lord went with him.

      Paul uses the word “if” in First Corinthians, when he is arguing that, “If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” (I Cor. 15:17), yet we know he didn’t doubt the resurrection of Christ. Just the opposite (vs. 20).

      Given some other songs by the same author, I’m sure he had no question about the presence of the living Christ in his life. Both A New Name in Glory, and his little chorus Wide, Wide as the Ocean, express the certainties of the Christian faith.

      Nevertheless, good comment. And I join with you in testifying to the unfailing presence of the Lord. God bless.


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