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.
Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word;
But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.
Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea—
Come, Friend of sinners, and thus bide with me.
Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;
And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee,
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.
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.
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.
Hold Thou Thy cross 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.
Words by Henry F. Lyte, 1861
Music by William H. Monk, 1861
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
John 15:1 – 8
Have you ever found yourself left alone. I’m not talking about the idea of getting time to yourself, but the feeling of being abandoned. I remember a time while I was young when this happened.
I had attended a friend’s birthday party at a roller skating rink. Afterwards we stopped for ice cream. I stepped into the bathroom while everyone was ordering. When I came out everyone was gone. I went out to the car to find them just in time to see the car turn the corner and drive away. The driver believed I was in the full vehicle with everyone else.
As the ice cream parlor closed right behind me, I walked to another store that was still open. I asked if I would be able to use their phone. They allowed me to make the phone call. They later told my parents that it was normally against policy to let people use their phone, but I appeared about to burst into tears. When my parents arrived I was relieved beyond belief. They said the driver of the car had contacted them as soon as they realized I was not in the car. The driver may well have been more worried than I was, though at the time from my perspective, I don’t know that I would have believed it.
The feeling of being completely alone is not a feeling that any of us wants to fee, but this is a feeling that we can often feel in life. Sometime, we feel it even when we are surrounded by other people. It is this fear of being alone in life’s darkness and struggles that Henry Lyte lifts up in prayer through his hymn, “Abide With Me.”
Lyte writes, “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.” When we find ourselves all alone, when it seems that everyone we turn to fails, where can we turn. As the fear grows within us that we have been abandoned, where can we find strength.
Deuteronomy 31:6 answers the question. It tells us to “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
God is there when we feel alone. He is waiting for us to call on him. If we will “Draw near to God, He will draw near to (us)” (James 4:8) We do not need to feel alone. We can turn to Christ. He has told us in John 15:4, “ Remain in me, as I also remain in you.”
So when those times come that we feel alone, we turn to Christ who is always there. Christ, who will never leave nor forsake us.
It is with this in mind that we can sing this heartfelt prayer and declare, “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.”
Read more about “Abide With Me.”