“I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments.” 1 Samuel 15:11
Ray Palmer, in “My Faith Looks Up to Thee,” gives us a map for walking in dark times. I learned early in my journey that I had a multitude of choices I could make. In fact, the plethora of choices terrified me. I had heard about all the missteps made by others, especially men.
Palmer’s hymn begins, “My faith looks up to Thee, Thou Lamb of Calvary…” Wisdom prevails when you turn to the Lamb of Calvary. Every other choice you may turn to is a mistake. Palmer is speaking, primarily, to that initial turning from guilt to salvation. However, as I have learned, that turning to look with faith upon Calvary is a repeated daily response beyond salvation, and especially in grief. Our eyes of faith should be trained to the Cross. We doggedly take our eyes off of sight—what’s before us—and we fix our eyes upon the Lamb.
“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:22
In the second verse of Palmer’s hymn, we sing, “May Thy rich grace impart strength to my fainting heart…” Do not ignore that your temporal default is to faint in life. Adversity. Loss. Pain. Disappointment. We need his grace—his sufficient grace—to impart strength to our weak and fainting hearts.
The title of my blog is Facing Loss: Lessons of Hope from My Unwanted Journey. There’s a reason. I did not even have to come up with the title. It just emerged from my experience. I realized I had to face my loss squarely and I needed to do it with hope. Palmer continues in verse three, “While life’s dark maze I tread, and griefs around me spread, be Thou my guide; bid darkness turn today, wipe sorrow’s tears away, nor let me ever stray from thee aside.” Face it. Life is a dark maze. Grief has or will spread around you. You need a guide. You have numerous choices. Choose the Lamb of Calvary as your Guide! He will walk you by faith through the darkness and sorrow. He will keep you in his paths. Tempted to stray, you will be enabled to stay by his side.
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
“My Faith Looks Up to Thee” continues. “When ends life’s transient dream, when death’s cold, sullen stream, shall o’er me roll. Blest Savior, then, in love, fear and distrust remove; O bear me safe above, a ransomed soul.” Palmer captures the destination on our life’s map. The transient dream has ended. The chill of death visits us or, in some cases, rolls over us.
We will see with eyes of sight what we have embraced with eyes of faith. Our blessed Savior! The lover of our souls! Love demolishes fear and distrust. Fear and distrust are gone. No more need for faith. Now sight delivers what faith promised. He, our Savior, bears us safely above. The promised ransom has been delivered! Faith becomes sight. Hope gives way to joyful union.
In a world where there are numerous choices, the wise choose to turn to the God who made heaven and earth.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. …Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven…” Matthew 5:3, 12