Posted by: rcottrill | July 15, 2019

Midst the Darkness, Storm and Sorrow

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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: Emma Frances Shuttleworth Bevan (b. Sept. 25, 1827; d. Feb. 13, 1909)
Music: Almaden, by S. H. Price (no further information available)

Wordwise Hymns (Emma Bevan) (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Emma Bevan was the daughter of Philip Shuttleworth, warden of New College at Oxford, and later bishop of Chichester, England. In 1856, she married Robert Bevan, of the Lombard Street banking firm that later became Barclays Bank Limited. She wrote many fine hymns. Some have attributed the present hymn to Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676), but it seems certain it was original with Bevan.

The late Agatha Christie (1890-1976) is the top selling novelist of all time–three billion books sold, and counting. Her speciality was cleverly plotted mystery stories. Popular books such as The Mysterious Affair at Styles, And Then There Were None, and more than sixty more, built her reputation as the Queen of Crime.

With many misleading clues along the way, Christie tries to keep us guessing as to the solution of each puzzle until the very end. But in a book published in 1934 she daringly put the answer at the beginning, in the very title. Once the meaning of the question Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? is understood, all the tangled threads of the plot fall into place, showing what happened, and why.

In a way, it’s the same with the Bible. It starts with the words, “In the beginning God” (Gen. 1:1). And that’s the answer and explanation of everything that follows. God alone is eternal, “from everlasting to everlasting” (Ps. 90:2). Human history begins with God, because all things begin with Him, are sustained by Him and, in one way or another, find their final destiny in Him (Rom. 11:36). And “by faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Heb. 11:3).

Evolutionists strive mightily to convince us that everything came spontaneously from nothing, that life sprung somehow from non-life, and each intricate marvel of creation is the result of billions of years of blind chance. Matthew Henry (1662-1714) began his commentary on the Bible more than three hundred years ago. And, in the opening chapter’s description of creation, he says:

“Concerning this, the pagan philosophers wretchedly blundered, some asserting the world’s eternity and self-existence, others ascribing it to a fortuitous concourse of atoms. Thus ‘the world by wisdom knew not God’ [I Cor. 1:21, KJV] but took great pains to lose Him!”

The entire Bible is about God and His relationship with man. It’s difficult to determine exactly how many times He is mentioned, given the many names and titles plus personal pronouns used for Him. But even the words God and Lord are found in the Scriptures more than ten thousand times. And over and again the inspired authors anchor their beliefs and actions in the creative work of the Lord (e.g. Ps. 148:1-5; Jer. 32:16-17; Zech. 12:1ff; Acts 4:24, 29).

The New Testament makes clear that the Lord Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, had an active part in the work of creation. “All things were created through Him and for Him” (Col. 1:16-17; cf. Jn. 1:1, 3). And through faith in Him and His sacrifice on the cross we’re redeemed and receive everlasting life. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7).

The long record of human history is to end with eternal blessing in His presence, when Christ returns to take us to the heavenly home He’s prepared for us (Jn. 14:2-3). “Surely I am coming quickly,” Jesus says. And with the Apostle John we reply, “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20). What a shattering and yet glorious experience it will be to stand in the presence of our Creator and Redeemer. To borrow and insightful observation of C. S. Lewis, We’ll be “too afraid to be glad, and too glad to be afraid.”

That day is wonderfully portrayed by English hymn writer Emma Bevan in her fourteen stanza hymn about heaven.

CH-1) ’Midst the darkness, storm and sorrow,
One bright gleam I see;
Well I know the blessèd morrow
Christ will come for me.

CH-2) ’Midst the light, and peace, and glory
Of the Father’s home,
Christ for me is watching, waiting,
Waiting till I come.

CH-10) He and I together entering
Those fair courts above–
He and I together sharing
All the Father’s love.

CH-14) He and I, in that bright glory,
One deep joy shall share–
Mine, to be for ever with Him;
His, that I am there.

1) How should the anticipation of our heavenly home with Christ affect us here and now?

2) The C. S. Lewis quotation above comes from The Chronicles of Narnia. Explain, in your own words, how it fits our future meeting with Christ.

Wordwise Hymns (Emma Bevan) (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal


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