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Friday, November 7, 2014

Father-like, he tends and spares us;
well our feeble frame he knows;
in his hands he gently bears us,
rescues us from all our foes.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Widely yet his mercy flows.

Angels, help us to adore him;
you behold him face to face.
Sun and moon, bow down before him,
dwellers in all time and space:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praise with us the God of grace.

Henry Francis Lyte’s “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven”
(tune: Lauda Anima)
from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

I always chuckle when I hear that old expression that goes something like “We make plans, God laughs.” When I first heard it, my initial reaction was to get a little bent out of shape; what does that mean, God laughs—at my plans, my hard work, the way I choose to handle things? But I calmed down somewhat when I thought more about the message in that statement. Our lives are in God’s hands. But I must not be totally satisfied with that answer, in all truth, because I always want to do things my way instead of leaving things up to God, who is the Shepherd of us all.

Henry Fancis Lyte’s hymn “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven” reminds me of how God “tends us” or cares for us and “gently bears us” amidst all of our burdens. He “rescues us” from our foes and “spares us,” knowing so well our “feeble frames” are flawed.

And there is so much more in those lines beneath the surface that hold so much meaning to me. Who are my foes? Oftentimes, as the events of my life play out, I find that I am my own worst enemy. How many times have I boldly plunged head-first into a situation with nary a thought of God, so certain that my way was the best way, only to come out of my flurry feeling like a human wrecking ball? Too many times to count. Those are the times I thank God for sparing me from myself and protecting me from harm, and I vow to consult with God next time and allow his wisdom and strength to guide me.

God’s mercy and love for us is, and always will be, unfailing, yet these few lines acknowledge how hard it is for us to let God fully care for us. The very words of the hymn implore the angels to “help us to adore him.” I’ll admit it’s something I struggle with daily. But every single time I manage to trust God’s plan, I am rewarded far beyond my expectations.

Lord, help me to trust in your plan and open myself to true joy. Help me to let go of the familiarity of my routine and my tired ways. Amen.

Written by Patty Donmoyer, Receptionist

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