Posted by: rcottrill | November 18, 2016

I’m Going Through

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Words: Herbert Buffum (b. Nov. 13, 1879; d. Oct. 9, 1939)
Music: Herbert Buffum

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (Herbert Buffum)
Hymnary.org

Note: Buffum was a prolific, if not polished song writer. He published over a thousand gospel songs. Author Phil Kerr, who is usually quite accurate, says that Buffum began preaching at the age of 17, while the Cyber Hymnal reports he was converted at the age of 18. That seeming conflict is not impossible. There are unsaved preachers–I knew one. And I know of at least a couple of hymn writers who wrote credible gospel songs before they were saved, and were later converted through their own songs! God works in mysterious ways.

Many years ago, my parents had a house built for them in Ontario. My father was the organist of our church, and we always had an organ at home. One of them was a massive old thing, and the contractor warned there was no way it would go through any door or window of the new house. So, it was moved in during early construction, and the house was literally built around it!

That incident came to mind as I thought of the expression “going through.” In life, it refers to things we experience, things we go through, but it also hints there are limits to what’s experienced. We may be going through it now, but there will be an ending to it.

Meantime, whatever we’re going through is our own, not someone else’s experience. Others may think they know exactly how we’re feeling, but they may not. “I know what you’re going through,” must be said with great caution. One person’s financial crisis may look like another’s, but our experience of it is unique. In the same way, our physical pain or family conflict is our own, and may not be identical to what another has had to bear.

We may read about the suffering of the early Christians in times of Roman persecution, but we really know little of the horror of it in any intimate way. What African slaves experienced in nineteenth century America is beyond our full awareness too. Or what about what the Jews went through in Nazi concentration camps, during the 1930’s and ‘40’s?

We may shed tears of outrage at such things, while we’re thrilled by their courage and tenacious hope, but that’s nothing like being there and going through it. When we have an opportunity today, we need to try to understand the trials of others, to empathize, to help sufferers, but it’s not wise to assume we know all about it.

In Second Corinthians 11:23-28, Paul speaks of things he’d gone through as a missionary of the gospel. Beatings, imprisonment, shipwrecks, betrayal, and “besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches” (vs. 28). Traveling from place to place, Paul had started new churches. But after he moved on, he continued to pray for them (e.g. Col. 1:3; Eph. 1:15-16; I Thess. 1:2-3). And he wrote to them. Many of the New Testament books are letters written to churches he continued to care for.

Do pray for your pastor, and support him in any way you can! And what about your missionaries? Being a missionary or a pastor is a heavy burden, in terms of the mental and physical labour, the challenges to be faced, and the spiritual battles to be fought. American pastor and hymn writer Herbert Buffum learned that early on.

He began preaching at the age of seventeen, and in the early days of his ministry, Buffum served a small church in Utah. He tried to preach the Word of God faithfully, but some kind of conflict arose in the church. After facing the pain of it, and when he failed to resolve it, Pastor Buffum resigned. Whoever was at fault, whatever the details were, it was a devastating experience for the young clergyman.

It was as though the devil was prodding him to see himself as a failure. “Now you’re out of a job, and no one cares about you,” the evil one seemed to say. But Buffum thought about the experience of Job, how that great saint continued to seek after God, even in the face of incredible trials. “[God] knows the way that I take,” said Job, “when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold (Job 23:10).

Truly, “The righteous will come through [out of] trouble” (Prov. 12:13). It was with that reassurance in 1914 that Hebert Buffum wrote the song, I’m Going Through.

1) Lord, I have started to walk in the light,
Shining upon me from heaven so bright;
I’ve bade the world and its follies adieu,
I’ve started for Glory, and I’m going through.

I’m going through, yes, I’m going through,
I’ll pay the price whatever others do;
I’ll take the road with the Lord’s despised few;
I’m going through, Jesus, I’m going through.

2) I’d rather walk with Jesus alone,
Have for my pillow, like Jacob, a stone,
Living each moment with His face in view,
Than to turn from the pathway and fail to go through.

Questions:
1) What difficult challenges and changes are you going through at this time?

2) How is the Lord helping you through them?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (Herbert Buffum)
Hymnary.org


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