Winter in Pennsylvania, especially in January or February, can be a very barren time. Shrubs and flowers are gone. Cold winds whip around us. Travel can be difficult. The days are short and night comes quickly. Then the return of spring provides a breath of hope as life seems to burst through once again. But isn't life often like that for us? We go through barren periods when God seems so far away. We get discouraged and try to do things on our own. But fortunately, God hasn't left us alone. He has sent His Comforter to indwell us, and guide us, and teach us. The barren feeling comes because we don't yield all our efforts to Him. Maybe it was a barren time in the life of Edwin Hatch when he cried out "breathe on me, breath of God". I am only guessing that this might have been the case since I can't find anything at all about the background of this old hymn. And all I can find out about the author was that he lived from 1835 to 1889 and apparently penned these words in 1878. He was an English theologian and is is best known as the author of the paper Influence of Greek Ideas and Usages Upon the Christian Church, which he presented during the 1888 Hibbert Lectures. This appears to be the only poem which he wrote that has survived the years. But we don't need to know much about the author or the background of the hymn to appreciate its powerful words. Maybe we should make them our daily prayer for 2011. Only when we yield to the Holy Spirit will out lives experience the life and joy and meaning that God has intended us to have. The winter of our lives will then will burst into spring. Take time to meditate upon this hymn this week.
1. Breathe on me, breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love,
And do what Thou wouldst do.
2. Breathe on me, breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until with Thee I will one will,
To do and to endure.
3. Breathe on me, breath of God,
Till I am wholly Thine,
Until this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine.
4. Breathe on me, breath of God,
So shall I never die,
But live with Thee the perfect life
Of Thine eternity.
Listen to it here. LISTEN