TIMELESS HYMN - Another revised and repeated blog of one of the great hymns of the faith - Abide With Me - originally shared on March 14, 2010.
This hymn is one of those which I believe is being lost to present and future generations because it is seldom sung anymore. That is sad because it really is a special testimony hymn which I never fully appreciated myself until I did a brief study of its history. I often thought of this hymn at times when I was perplexed and challenged by all the changes around me. Then I would recall the words of the second verse, "Change and decay in all around I see, O Thou who changest not, abide with me." And that itself is a powerful prayer in the day in which we live. But the real impact of this hymn may come when you realize why it was written. The author, Henry F. Lyte (1793-1847), was known as a man frail in body but strong in faith and spirit. His health was continually threatened by asthma and tuberculosis. He is said to be the one who coined the phrase, "it is better to wear out than to rust out." Wherever he ministered it is said that he was greatly loved and admired by his people. For the last twenty-three years of his life he pastored a poor parish church among fishing people in England. His health became progressively worse so he was forced to seek a warmer climate in Italy. For his last sermon to his poor parishioners, in 1847, he nearly had to crawl to the pulpit and his message came from a dying man. He told his folks that it was his desire to "induce you to prepare for the solemn hour which must come to all by a timely appreciation and dependence on the death of Christ." It is said that he penned the words of this hymn just before his last Sunday in his church. On his trip to Italy he died in France, three weeks after writing this hymn. So this hymn is really the testimony of one who knew he would soon die. Remember this as you read these words. Make this your prayer and testimony during the days that the Lord gives you before calling you home.
(1) Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
(2) Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
(3) I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me
(4) I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
(5) Hold Thou Thy Word before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
Listen to the hymn here. ABIDE