Then sings my soul!

Over the past month or so, I’ve visited several churches around the state for different occasions (a baby dedication in Columbus, a baptism in Milledgeville, etc). One thing I have noticed is the stark differences in music from church to church. I love music in general, but to me a church service is not complete without hymns. Praise and worship music (along with other contemporary styles) has its place, granted. And, I’m certain it ministers to some who hear it. But, for me, church is not church without the old traditions.

They just do not write songs like that anymore. Take, for example, The Love of God:

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

  • Refrain:
    Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
    How measureless and strong!
    It shall forevermore endure—
    The saints’ and angels’ song.

When hoary time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

The new songs do not come close to the meaning and depth of these lyrics which have stood the test of time. They fill me with such a sense of peace each time I hear them that is unmatched.

Our neighbors love music as much as I (and my family) do. Quite often, they will come up, and we will drag out the hymnals and we just sit around the living room singing. This past Sunday evening was one of those occasions. We had, as we normally do, a wonderful time. It is so nice to be able to sit and spend time with such a family!

Thank you for saying, “No.”

I had originally posted this on my old Xanga account, but wanted to put a copy of it here. Thus the severe backdating.

On the Sunday following Thanksgiving, the sermon at our church focused on giving thanks to God. Ever since then, through the chaos of term papers, finals, and the kettle campaign, I have been thinking about it. I’ve been trying to figure out for what am I most thankful. It has not been easy. I started with the obvious: family, health, etc. Then, it occurred to me. I am most thankful for the times when God has said “No” and changed my plans.

Five years ago, I thought I had my life planed. I was going to graduate from the Tech school, get my electrician license, and be married within five years. My electrical business would grow into general construction. I would be living in a large house with federal architecture.

Well, if you are reading this, you probably know me well enough to know that NONE of that has actually taken place. I did finish the Tech school, but with a certificate instead of a diploma. I never sat for the electricians’’ exam. Instead, I went to Georgia Military College and began my true academic career. I grew closer to maturity my two years there than I did in the previous ten years combined.

There was a time when I thought I had found my soul mate, the one with whom I thought I would spend the rest of my life. In my mind, all that was left was to have a talk with the fathers and make it official. Well, the relationship I envisioned never developed. I never had that talk with the fathers. And it is a good thing. If it had, I would have never been able to experience the next phases of my life without being helplessly torn between maintaining the relationship and taking part in one of the greatest opportunities of my life.

Working the campaign was tremendous, but left very little time for anything else. Even when I was doing something else, it was always on my mind. I gave it everything I had. But, it wasn’t enough. We still lost. But, through the contacts formed and experience gained, I was able to get an internship at the General Assembly.

The four months in Atlanta were among the greatest of my life. Sure, I went through times of loneliness. There were times I felt like the only one who actually stood for something. But, I made several great new friends. And, more importantly, it was the first time in my life I KNEW I was doing what I had been called to do. All of the NOs, all the changed plans, had led up to this.

Sure, I have plans for the next five years. But now, it would not surprise me of they all changed. God has been teaching me to depend on him for even my next breath. It is a lesson that has taken me a while to learn, and I’m not quite sure I have it now. Abigail Adams said it wonderfully, “Unto Him who mounts the whirlwind and directs the storm I will cheerfully leave the ordering of my lot, and whether adverse or prosperous days shall be my future portion I will trust in His right had to lead me safely thro.”

So, that is the highlight of my thanks. God has set out a perfect plan for my life. He is willing to tell me “no” when my feeble attempts at running my life would actually ruin my life.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

~ Romans 8:28