Abiding in God and God in You
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.
There is a fierce faithfulness to this final stanza. I love the way this hymn unfolds. The words above remind us that we find our strength in vulnerability. Look back over this last week, especially the last two days. The Morning Meditations for Tuesday and Wednesday had a vulnerability to them, even a weakness. It is difficult for us to name that we need help. We live in a culture that is addicted to confidence and certainty and puffing out its chest with pride.
Yet this hymn says that the way to strength is not through flexing your muscle but admitting that we all stumble and bumble around. Even as we call God, “Almighty,” we recognize that central to our theology is God’s willingness to face the cross in Christ – notice this in the third line of the stanza above. That is a sacrificial way for the Sacred to be. Move over, we proclaim, this is the image of the Divine we are created in, One willing to let love be at the center and core. Our triumph is less about success and more about a way of encountered God in the storms of life.
When we abide in God, we face these moments of difficulty because God faced them in Christ. When God abides in us, we find the courage to move through the pain knowing that God is not finished with us yet.
Because we are all a work in progress, we still have foes; ills still have weight; and tears can be a bitter as ever. Abiding in God is not some guarantee of smooth sailing. It is a reminder that God is there helping us in the storms of life. What foes, ills, tears, and storms are stirring right now for you? How might you be open, vulnerable, to God’s presence not with mind/might over matter; but with sensing God’s love abiding and inviting you to make your residence in God?
Prayer: God meet me this morning with the words of this hymn that I sometimes question and wonder about. Reassure me that often it is only in looking back that I find Your amazing and abiding presence that I thought was absent in the moment.