What happens when you reach the end of your rope? What’s after the end – another rope?
Today, I’m asking the Lord.
Actually, I just kind of sat for a few minutes and let space pass between me and the Lord. I let this song do all the asking, because it seems to write the kind of lyric my heart is singing. Hymns pack a pretty hearty punch when it comes to expressing what feels hidden too deep for language. John Newton first penned these words in 1879, so their strength does not surprise me. What does surprise me is how accurate his description is (after 133 years) of the woeful condition of my heart. Even as I seek the Lord in earnest prayer, I often ask for what most benefits me – what most quickly satisfies or appeases or quiets or calms. I am earnest, but I am disappointed when what He gives is abundant in every opposite way.
I hoped that in some favored hour
At once He’d answer my request
And by His love’s constraining power
Subdue my sins and give me rest
Instead of this He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart
And let the angry powers of Hell
Assault my soul in every part
My conversation in quiet moments with the Lord that started with an honest desire to grow in grace and faith ends with frustrated confusion. God must not have understood – I wanted to grow in grace and faith.
And here I feel, again, the guilt and weight of my sin – the hidden evils of my heart that lead even my prayer life away from the Lord. O, how gracious to set me free from self and pride – again and again so that I might seek my all in Him.
Lord why is this, I trembling cried
Wilt Thou pursue thy worm to death?
“Tis in this way” The Lord replied
“I answer prayer for grace and faith”
“These inward trials I employ
From self and pride to set thee free
And break thy schemes of earthly joy
That thou mayest seek thy all in me,
That thou mayest seek thy all in me.”