Posted by: rcottrill | March 21, 2019

Farther Along

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Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: William Buel Stevens (b. Mar. 11, 1862; d. Dec. 9:1943); Barney Elliott Warren (b. Feb. 20, 1867; d. Apr. 21, 1961)
Music: Grenada, by George Harrison Cook (b. _____; d. ___, 1948)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Barney Warren) (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: There seems to be some confusion over who actually wrote this song. You can read more about that in the second Wordwise Hymns link above. Apparently William Stephens wrote the original, but it was adapted by Barney Warren, who had thousands of gospel songs to his credit. Books sometimes credit Warren for the song, other times it’s a man named J. R. Baxter, another major gospel song writer in the first half of the twentieth century. Of Harrison, the composer of the tune, we know little, he was a preacher and gospel singer, and apparently composed other music.

It’s the same with many things we learn. When we’re first exposed to a subject it can be confusing and even intimidating. We may doubt we’ll ever be able to understand it or put it to use.

That may be how we feel in childhood, when confronted with reading or arithmetic. Or with riding a two-wheeler. Later, driving a car is another skill that can be daunting at first. So can learning a new language. And though computer skills are now taught an at an early age, some of us had to master at least the basics well into adulthood. It wasn’t easy!

It helps if we have a good teacher in the beginning, and good role models (the two are sometimes found in the same person), and we’ll need a good measure of patience for the challenges mentioned, and many others. “It takes time” is more than a trite phrase. Diligent effort usually brings progress, even if it’s not as fast as we could wish.

Something like this happened to the disciples of the Lord Jesus. These were not theological scholars. The Lord plucked them from here and there during the early days of His earthly ministry. Peter and several others were fishermen, Matthew was a tax collector, Simon the Zealot belonged to a group that advocated political revolution.

These men were to be trained for missionary work and church planting after Christ’s ascension. They were educated by the greatest Teacher who ever lived, and One who lived before them a glowing example to follow (Jn. 13:14-15). Their schooling was extensive. There was about three years of being with Jesus, and listening to His teaching. Also, He sent them out, two by two, to minister on their own (Mk. 6:7-13), then report back how it had gone (vs. 30).

But, even so, they struggled to understand what was going on, and what their part in it all would be. This was especially true when Christ began speaking of His coming death on the cross (Matt. 16:21). How could He be their reigning Messiah-King if He died? Peter’s impetuous response was, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You” (vs. 22). For this, Peter was severely rebuked (vs. 23).

Then, hours before His arrest and crucifixion, Jesus seems to be referring to His ascension back into heaven when He says, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward” (Jn. 13:36). But the disciples seem to think He’s speaking of going into hiding (Jn. 13:37; 14:5).

The Lord didn’t rebuke them for their confusion, but simply recognized it (Jn. 13:7), promising they’d have a fuller understanding later on. “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth” (Jn. 16:12-13).

Today, we still have many unanswered questions. With Paul we may say, “Now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known” (I Cor. 13:12). What is called for is ongoing faith in God’s promises, confidence that He does all things well, and patience to wait for what’s to come.

This is the attitude reflected in a 1911 gospel song taken from words by an American pastor named William Stevens.

CH-1) Tempted and tried, we’re oft made to wonder
Why it should be thus all the day long;
While there are others living about us,
Never molested, though in the wrong.

Farther along we’ll know more about it,
Farther along we’ll understand why;
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine,
We’ll understand it all by and by.

CH-5) “Faithful till death,” saith our loving Master;
Short is our time to labour and wait;
Then will our toiling seem to be nothing,
When we shall pass the heavenly gate.

CH-6) Soon we will see our dear, loving Saviour,
Hear the last trumpet sound through the sky;
Then we will meet those gone on before us,
Then we shall know and understand why.

Questions:
1) What are some events in your life that you’re hoping to understand better in heaven?

2) What are some reasons the Lord withholds an explanation for such things now?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Barney Warren) (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


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