my best thought

I have too many thoughts.

The past couple months, I have been trying to figure out what it means to have a best thought. It feels like a commitment and a precarious one. Thoughts can get going like locomotives – they are hard to control when they gain speed. How would I find just one and elevate to “best” status?

The hymn Be Thou My Vision is one of my favorites because it is so unashamed about making an impossible commitment.

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

I always sing it like a prayer – believing God can make these words true – but it is also a declaration. These stanzas are like steady footsteps when all the other thoughts crowd in on us and the locomotive derails, spilling our jumbled mental cargo all over the tracks. These words are declarations that God is worthy of best thoughts, capable of best wisdom, and a right receiver of praise.

I’m praying I can sing these declarations honestly, but I think best thoughts come about a different way. I think best thoughts are always what you treasure most, what you would sell everything to possess.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

still

Heart of my own heart
Whatever befall,
Still be my vision
O Ruler of all

Still.

God is so good because He already knows whatever will befall. He knows that when we say “still be my vision” we are asking for His grace to make it so. He knows all the ways we will avert our eyes and look to others. He knows we will be ruled by other rulers in weak moments.

He knows, but still He keeps.
He guards us and He keeps us and He leads us.
And in His keeping, He is our peace.

We can sing “still be my vision” because His grace is what empowers us to see at all. 

We lift up proclamations only possible by His grace.The Spanish word for still is todavía or aún and both to me roll more steady into the future than stillThey seem to be words that point to another word coming after, hanging on for meaning.

“Still be my vision” is my promise that hangs on my belief that God will keep me and guard me and lead me. And He does.

Still.