Welcome!  Hymns have been and continue to be a real source of inspiration to me.  My desire in this blog is to share special hymns with my readers hoping that the words will minister to them, especially in times of great personal need.  If one of these hymns ministers to you, please take time to leave a comment so that I know that my blog is helping others as much as it helps me. Sometimes I will also provide a link where you can go to hear the hymn played.  So, please join me here each week and sing along as we praise God together.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

CLOSE TO THEE


          If you've ever been in love than you know what it is like to want to be close to the one who you love.  You take every opportunity to be with them and if you are away you want to call them and hear their voice.  And so it should be if we love the Lord.  We should want to be in His presence.  We should want to talk to Him.  He should be the center of our life and thoughts.  And this is the thought that is shared in this week's hymn choice penned by that great blind hymn writer, Fanny Crosby (1820-1915).  Now I have found two accounts concerning the events that led her to pen these words.  In her book Memories of Eighty Years, Fanny says,  "Toward the close of a day in the year 1874 I was sitting in my room thinking of the nearness of God through Christ as the constant companion of my pilgrim journey, when my heart burst out with the words."  The author herself originally called the song "Christ, the Portion of His People."   The other story was shared by Ira Sankey in his volume My Life and the Story of the Gospel Songs.  He recalls that  "Silas J. Vail (1818-1884), having composed this tune, brought it to Fanny Crosby, and requested her to write the words for it. As he was playing it for her on the piano, she said, 'That refrain says "Close to Thee, close to Thee."' Mr. Vail said that was true, and it was agreed that it should be a hymn entitled Close to Thee."  Now I'm not sure which story is correct or if there is some truth in both of them, but it doesn't really matter.  The fact is that Fanny's words have been the prayer for believers for years.  She says that Christ is her everlasting portion.  Many times, the Lord  is described as the "portion" of His people. David says, "O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance" (Psalm 16:5). The psalmist cries, "My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever" (Psalm 73:26).   Such an intimate relationship stirs a desire to obey and please God: "You are my portion, O Lord; I have said that I would keep Your words" (Psalm 119:57). The sense of weakness, and of dependance on God, is also expressed by still another psalm: "I cried out to You, O Lord: I said, 'You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living" (Psalm 142:5).  I find it amazing to realize that the eternal and Almighty God should be described as our inheritance and possession. But it is also true that the Lord describes those who belong to Him as His inheritance and possession. In Deuteronomy, Moses states, "The Lord's portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance" (Deuteronomy 32:9). In the second stanza of this hymn Fanny makes it clear that walking with Christ is not always easy and may require one to "toil and suffer."  When walking with Jesus, one will not partake in "worldly pleasure" or achieve "fame."  The final stanza extends our pilgrim journey "through the vale of shadows" and "o'er life's fitful sea", images of passing from earthly life through the "gate of life eternal."  Is this your prayer today?   Do you want to walk close to the Savior even though this pilgrim journey may be tough?  Just remember, when walking close to Him that He is omnipotent and omniscient. Nothing surprises Him.  He knows our pathway and nothing that happens is too difficult for Him to handle.  And He is our everlasting portion.  What more could we want?   All along my pilgrim journey, Savior, let me walk close to Thee. 


1.     Thou my everlasting portion,
More than friend or life to me,
All along my pilgrim journey,
Savior, let me walk with Thee.
Close to Thee, close to Thee,
Close to Thee, close to Thee;
All along my pilgrim journey,
Savior, let me walk with Thee.

2.    Not for ease or worldly pleasure,
Nor for fame my prayer shall be;
Gladly will I toil and suffer,
Only let me walk with Thee.
Close to Thee, close to Thee,
Close to Thee, close to Thee;
Gladly will I toil and suffer,
Only let me walk with Thee.

3.      Lead me through the vale of shadows,
Bear me o'er life's fitful sea;
Then the gate of life eternal
May I enter, Lord, with Thee.
Close to Thee, close to Thee,
Close to Thee, close to Thee,
Then the gate of life eternal
May I enter, Lord, with Thee.

Listen to it here.   LISTEN

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