Posted by: rcottrill | November 10, 2014

The Haven of Rest

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Words: Henry Lake Gilmour (b. Jan. 19, 1836; d. May 20, 1920)
Music: George D. Moore (no information available)

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: As you will see in the Cyber Hymnal’s biographical note, Henry Gilmour, a dentist by profession, became a gospel musician who contributed to many song books during his years of ministry. But of George Moore there seems to be no further information beyond his name.

CH-1) My soul in sad exile was out on life’s sea,
So burdened with sin and distressed,
Till I heard a sweet voice, saying,
“Make Me your choice”;
And I entered the “Haven of Rest”!

I’ve anchored my soul in the “Haven of Rest,”
I’ll sail the wide seas no more;
The tempest may sweep over wild, stormy, deep,
In Jesus I’m safe evermore.

There’s a centuries-old proverb that says, “Any port in a storm,” meaning that when you are in desperate trouble, you’ll take whatever help you can get. But there’s an even older proverb from a fable about a fish that jumped “out of the frying pan into the fire.” Sometimes the refuge we seek turns out to be no refuge at all.

The abuse of drugs and alcohol provides an example. Troubles may seem to disappear in a fog of blissful oblivion, but the addict soon finds he has simply heaped another grievous trial on things he struggled with before. Tempting though it is for some, that’s not a safe harbour for a troubled soul.

Especially in the days before air travel, the imagery of trying to escape a tempest at sea was a common one. A passage in Psalms describes “those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters” (Ps. 107:23). There the ancient mariners see stormy waves “mount up to the heavens [and] go down again to the depths” (vs. 25-26), and “they [the sailors] reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits end” (vs. 27).

In the New Testament, Luke, the author of Acts, gives a whole chapter to a graphic portrayal of the perils of sea travel (Acts 27). Paul had been arrested in Jerusalem, accused by the Jews of acting and speaking in ways contrary to the Law of Israel (21:28). But he appealed to Caesar (in effect, the supreme court of the empire), and was transported to Rome to stand trial (25:12). On the way there he and his companions faced a terrible storm at sea. However, though the ship was lost, all 276 of the passengers and crew escaped (27:37, 44).

The earlier of these passages stresses the importance and value of calling upon God for help in the desperate hour. As the waves rose mountain high, we read, “Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses….He guides them to their desired haven” (Ps. 107:28, 30). A “haven” is a harbour, a place of shelter and safety (cf. Acts 27:8). It provides a lovely metaphor for the spiritual refuge that is offered to the sinner, like the invitation to trust in Christ for salvation: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

CH-2) I yielded myself to His tender embrace,
In faith taking hold of the Word,
My fetters fell off, and I anchored my soul;
The “Haven of Rest” is my Lord.

CH-3) The song of my soul, since the Lord made me whole,
Has been the old story so blest,
Of Jesus, who’ll save whosoever will have
A home in the “Haven of Rest.”

It’s not a matter of, “Trust God and all your troubles are over.” But there’s an inner peace and confidence that can be ours when we look to Him. Even so, sometimes that’s the last thing we do. Author George MacDonald writes perceptively:

“How often we look upon God as our last and feeblest resource! We go to Him because we have nowhere else to go. And then we learn that the storms of life have driven us, not upon the rocks, but into the desired haven.”

CH-5) O come to the Saviour, He patiently waits
To save by His power divine;
Come, anchor your soul in the “Haven of Rest,”
And say, “My Belovèd is mine.”

1) In what distress have you recently found the Lord to be a safe haven?

2) Is their someone you can encourage, today, to seek haven in Christ?

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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