Posted by: rcottrill | March 23, 2016

They That Wait upon the Lord

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Words: James McGranahan, using the pen name G.M.J. (b. July 4, 1840; d. July 9, 1907)
Music: James McGranahan

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (James McGranahan born, died)
The Cyber Hymnal (James McGranahan)
Hymnary.org

Note: There are several gospel songs using the beautiful words of Isaiah 40:31, including this one. Mr. McGranahan did occasionally write the words for a tune he’d composed, but he’s more readily known for his melodies composed for the texts of others, for example:

There Shall Be Showers of Blessing
Christ Receiveth Sinful Men
I Know Whom I Have Believed
My Redeemer
The Banner of the Cross

Scan the Internet and you will see many references to this complaint: “I’m overworked and underpaid.” Coffee mugs, buttons, and posters are emblazoned with the words, as are hats and t-shirts. It even made a TIME Magazine cover in 2003.

So who are these people who say they are not being properly remunerated? It’s perhaps human nature that many feel that way, even some with seven and eight-figure incomes. But if we’re talking simply about the experience of the average person, and the ability to live comfortably, but not extravagantly, it narrows the field.

Sports stars can make multiplied millions of dollars a year in their sport, and that much again for endorsing a brand of car or perfume. Show business celebrities can do the same. But at the other end of the spectrum, what about regular folk? Homemakers aren’t usually paid a salary for what they do, but it’s easy to see they are often overloaded with responsibilities. In the workplace, nurses and teachers are frequently listed as being overworked and underpaid.

This may be a result of economic constraints on the part of employers, but too often it is evidence that the person and the work they do are under-appreciated. On the part of the employed person, this can lead to dissatisfaction, stress, exhaustion, and burn-out. Should they demand a raise, quit the job, or adjust their expectations? The answer isn’t always easy.

Some of these factors come up in Christian ministry too. Those who serve the Lord vocationally, such as pastors and missionaries, can be daunted by the size of the task before them. It is not surprising that some become discouraged, and even suffer burn-out. Have they misjudged their gifts, or the opportunities to use them? Or are there other problems to be faced?

Those in ministry struggle with the expectations of believers who have stand behind them financially. Little is coming in. What about the needs of my family? But on the other hand, is it wrong to continue being supported by the gifts of God’s people if one is not effective? And are our numbers sufficient for the task at hand? (For that need we’re to pray, Matthew 9:37-38.) These and other questions can trouble the servant of Christ.

Then too, Christian workers often find opposition from spiritual enemies. The book of Ephesians speaks of this.

“We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Eph. 6:12-13).

With an understanding of these things, gospel musician James McGranahan the wrote words and music of a reassuring song. Those of us who have wrestled with the challenges of service for our Saviour may think he is a little too optimistic to say, “Why should we ever faint?” But there is much here that serves to comfort and encourage a disheartened worker.

The author is referring in stanza three to the Lord’s promise, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect [it’s brought to full flower] in weakness” (II Cor. 12:9). And taking another reassuring promise, McGranahan based his refrain on Isaiah 40:31.

1) Ho, reapers in the whitened harvest!
Oft feeble, faint and few;
Come, wait upon the blessed Master,
Our strength He will renew.

For “they that wait upon the Lord ?
Shall renew their strength,
They shall mount up with wings,
They shall mount up with wings as eagles.
They shall run and not be weary;
They shall walk and not faint.”

2) Too oft aweary and discouraged,
We pour a sad complaint;
Believing in a living Saviour,
Why should we ever faint?

3) Rejoice, for He is with us always,
Lo, even to the end!
Look up, take courage and go forward,
All needed grace He’ll send!

Questions:
1) When you feel unappreciated in some service for the Lord, what do you do?

2) When you are struggling with the difficulty of some aspect of ministry, what do you do?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (James McGranahan born, died)
The Cyber Hymnal (James McGranahan)
Hymnary.org


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