To develop our church theme “Heartfelt Worship, Unceasing Prayers”, our pastors have reproduced devotions on Christian hymns as Reflections in the church bulletin on alternate Sundays. The devotions give us the background of favourite Christian hymns, explaining the composer’s motivation and inspiration when he/she penned the lyrics of the hymn.
When we sing Christian songs, we must learn to go beyond the melodic tune and learn to focus and meditate on the lyrics to get the full impact of the songs. By focussing on the lyrics, I have found the lyrics to speak to me in a meaningful and edifying way. And when I meditate on the lyrics, they have helped me to appreciate God much more. It has helped me to draw closer to Him.
At the EP Easter Convention at Expo, we had the privilege of listening to Silvie Paladino, a gifted and well-known Australian singer, sing “Your Grace Still Amazes Me”. This song was also one of the songs that we sang on Easter Sunday. The first stanza and the chorus goes like this:
“My faithful Father, enduring Friend
Your tender mercy’s like a river with no end
It overwhelms me, covers my sin
Each time I come into Your presence
I stand in wonder once again
Your grace still amazes me
Your love is still a mystery
Each day I fall on my knees
Your grace still amazes me
‘Cause Your grace still amazes me”
When I reflected on the phrase “each day I fall on my knees”, I felt a sense of remorse and disappointment because it has been a long time since I have fallen on my knees overwhelmed by God’s mercy, grace and love. (I don’t mean literally falling on my knees, but being awed and overwhelmed in my heart with God’s mercy, grace and love.) Instead of being overwhelmed by God’s faithfulness or His tender mercy, I have been overwhelmed by my work and other commitments. During the week, I find myself scrambling to get things done. When I am on my way to work, I am already mentally going through the things that I need to get done during the day. And once I step into the office, it’s a flurry of activities – from responding to emails, attending meetings, drafting documents to clearing paper and supervising my staff. I do want to get back into a relationship with God where I can sense His intimate presence with me each day.
The Gospel of John records the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman, who said to Jesus when He was sitting by Jacob’s well, “Sir, you have nothing to draw [water] with, and the well is deep.” (John 4:11). I find myself like the Samaritan woman, thinking that Jesus does not have the ability to deal with a situation. The Samaritan woman did not realize at that time that Jesus is the Son of God, but we have the Word of God, so there is no excuse for us to plead ignorance as to who Jesus is, what He has done and what He can do.
My doubts about Jesus begin from within when I think that Jesus cannot understand my circumstances and He is not there to help me through it. When I am faced with a busy day filled with difficult and challenging matters to handle, I sub-consciously think that I am the one who has to face the situation, not Jesus; I am the one who has to deal with it, not Jesus; after all, He has nothing with which to draw water — no means to be able to deal with these things for us.
If I am honest, I have to admit that my doubts come from within me and I need to bring them into the light and confess them openly to God. I want to change my attitude towards God. I want Him to be with me each and every moment of my life. Not that He is not already with me, it is just that I have not made Him truly the centre of my life. I have not been conscious of His presence and I have not allowed Him to work in my life. I need to learn to surrender my consciousness and my circumstances to Him. I want to fall on my knees each day because His grace still amazes me.
“Lord, I have had misgivings about You. I have not believed in Your abilities, but only my own. I have not believed in Your almighty power apart from my finite understanding of it. This is my prayer, help me Lord. Amen.”
Eld Jonathan Kok