Nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!
E'en though it be a cross that raiseth me,
still all my song shall be,
nearer, my God, to thee;
nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!
(Nearer my God to thee, TLH 533)
Please tell me if anyone out there is able to truly sing this song without squirming? Is there really someone who can consider the horrors of "cross," look God in the eye, and say, "Yes Lord, bring it on! If it means it will make me closer to You, by all means, strip me down, destroy my comfort, bring on the suffering!"
I do not say this to criticise the hymn. It is a beautiful hymn, and expresses a wonderful and holy sentiment. I just wish that sentiment really took up my entire heart, and not only a tiny little part. That part sings, and the rest puts on a phony little show, and I see how far I fail to keep the first commandment. So often my prayers are basically:
Uh oh, that cross is coming close to me... not that one Lord! I'm good, thanks. No cross today. Just comfort. And joy. And peace. And blessing.
It is grace, again, that God shows to me, by not waiting until my heart is ready before He sends the next trial that will bring me closer to Him.
But please, God... just five more minutes?
originally published 4/17/11