Bible Reading: Psalm 73:1-28

“Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge. that I may tell of all your works.” (Psalm 73:25-28)

Henry Francis Lyte was an English minister in the 1800s. Struck with tuberculosis at the age of 54, Lyte penned a hymn titled, ‘Abide with me’ two weeks before he succumbed to his illness. When we are faced with trials, suffering and even death, how do we respond before God? Let’s take a look at Lyte’s words. 

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;

The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.

When other helpers fail and comforts flee,

Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

When darkness and hard times surround us and all those around us fail to support us, when there is nowhere left to turn in this life, how do we respond before God? In humility, turn to God! He hears our prayers; He is the helper of the helpless. Draw near to God!

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day

Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away

Change and decay in all around I see

O Thou who changest not, abide with me

We must realise that our very lives are uncertain. Just because we are young, that does not mean that our comfortable and secure situation could change at any moment. The coronavirus has made people realise that Earth’s joys are fleeting. Everything around us changes and decays. Some people are beside us today and gone the next. It is not just corona. Life is short, and life is fleeting. There are one-thousand-and-one ways you could die tomorrow or day, for a matter of fact. Our time on earth is only as much as God has decided. Who do we trust in this life? Who is our stronghold? Only God does not change. He is the only trustworthy one. 

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless

Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness

Where is death’s sting?

Where, grave, thy victory?

I triumph still, if Thou abide with me

In Christ, the victory is already won. Though death and suffering may get to us, Christ has won the ultimate battle against sin. In Him, we are clothed in God’s righteousness. We have been reconciled with God. Christ has taken our sins upon Himself. He died for our sake but then defeated sin and rose again. He is the only source of sure victory and hope in this world. 

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes

Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies

Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee

In life, in death, o Lord, abide with me

If Christ is our only source of strength and hope in this world, who do we submit to today? Have we entrusted our whole lives to Christ? Only He can provide us hope and a reason to live. If Christ is the only source of life, we must obey Him both in life and in death, in prosperity and in suffering. All other solutions the world offers to our problems are but a temporary fad. Who will humbly realise their position as mere humans and understand that we are wholly dependent on the Lord? Who will pray, In life, in death, o Lord, abide with me

Lord, please teach us to rely on You alone. Teach us to have a deeper relationship with You. Please have mercy on us and abide with us. Apart from You, we are nothing. This life is short and fleeting. Only in You, there is hope. Please help us obey You and seek You as our portion. In Jesus’ name, amen.