It was a little over ten years ago that I first heard the song. This was the time that I also was in the midst of chemotherapy treatment for the first go around with cancer. It was also in the midst of what we viewed of as the "terrible five". Five years of trials that we described like being at the ocean, swept under by the waves and only getting enough time to come up for air just to be swept under again. This was a difficult season in our lives but, looking back now, I can view it as God ordained and fruitful. We have some faithful friends that, during this time, invited us down to Mesa AZ for a visit because, in their words, sounded like we needed a break. So we packed up and took a plane and landed in the sunshine. We were cared for not only by our dear friends but also by their church family. We were physically worn and emotionally fragile. Spiritually, we were at a low point not sure of what to do or which way to go. So when I heard the song that particular Sunday morning at their church it was like a blast of wind driving into my very soul. I could not, for the life of me, get the words out of my mouth to sing. But I knew it was true and it resonated deep. From that day forward to this day it still has an affect on me. It is one of those firm stakes in the ground that I go back to over and over again because I need to.
I was reminded about this song this last Lord's Day as we listened to the preaching of the Word. The pastor mentioned the title of the song in his sermon. The song that he mentioned is "In Christ Alone". Ten years ago I didn't think much of choruses as we were firm believers in just singing hymns. I love the hymns and thought it couldn't get better than that. But the words to this song/chorus is powerful. Just as powerful as the hymns that we would sing. You can hear the song here:
There is a particular stanza that jumped out at me all those years ago. It's in the last verse and goes like this: "From life's first cry to final breath Jesus commands my destiny". All of the song is amazing and true but ten years ago seeing those words on the screen sucked the air right out of me. It's not that I didn't know that or believe that but it was one of those moments where it changed me. I believe in the Sovereignty of God and that His purposes cannot fail. This has helped so many times throughout the years knowing that God sees me, knows my name and commands my destiny. In the moments of fear, anxiety or discouragement this phrase has a way of bolstering and making firm something that is not of me but of Him.
Last week, as I sat in the lounger at Compass Oncology, I watched the nurse hook me up to all the bags of medicine that would eventually be coursing through my veins. I heard the tick, tick, tick of the monitor gauging how much should be dripping through. How many tickings of time have their been for me up to this point and the Lord of the Starfields has commanded them all. Spurgeon once said in the devotional "Morning by Morning" that "The same God who directs the earth in its orbit, who feeds the burning furnace of the sun, and trims the lamps of heaven, has promised to supply thee with daily strength.". It is a true and biblical statement that adheres to whatever God commands He will also give the grace to fulfill. So as my life gets into a steady rhythm of good days and not so good days I so want to be trusting that He will give what is needed. Paul even says in Ephesians that He is "able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think".
I have probably sung "In Christ Alone" hundreds of times. And there are still moments that I can't get the words out. Always it resonates deep down giving encouragement for the tomorrows knowing that my gracious heavenly Father commands even my destiny.
Gratefully ~ I Thessalonians 5:24