What difference can a hymn make? Have you ever considered that question? Can a hymn save your soul? Can God communicate to you through your own pen?
These are interesting questions, I think. If you examine the questions and ponder that examination you will find that they are linked. In fact, you should find that they are loaded because they are linked.
Yesterday I ventured forth to take a walk through the neighborhood, and I had my little Kodak with me for the adventure. It was roughly a two-mile hike, so I bought some fast food along the way.
As I was walking I was taking photographs in juxtaposition between the works of man and of nature. In this issue you can see the artwork that proceeded from one of those images, and that it includes a statement, “The artistry of man only works as it accurately reflects the majesty of nature, which it rarely ever does. They simply do not compare, but stand in arrogant simplicity against the masterworks of God.”
That statement came into my mind as I was about midway through the first leg of my journey and I kept it in mind for the whole journey, seeking an image that would fit the sentiment of those words. It was after buying the meal I purchased that I found the image to fulfill my quest. Many will question both the grammar and logic of the statement and the image chosen, but the details of the image reflect the sentiment of the statement.
Mankind, in his best efforts utterly fails to out shine the simplest works of God, his best efforts being able merely to reflect what God has already done—and even then the accuracy utterly fails. As you can see in the image here presented, even the finest of mancraft still distorts its reflection of the masterworks of our Creator, for each glass pane offers only a distorted reflection of that which strikes it.
Man, in his arrogance, tries to predict the future, but experience tells us that his experience is such that when a document does tell the future accurately, man tries to explain it away as having been written after the events about which its author wrote. One of the hallmarks, then, of God-writing is that, when dealing with events yet future, it is never wrong in its intent.
There is a particular identifying factor that the man of God can detect when his Maker seeks communion with him. Be it through whatever medium, the man of God can detect it, and will likely—at the very least—pause in wonderment at the communication granted him. He will also likely spend time in silent communion with the Lord at such a time, if he is wise.
It is because of such truth that I noticed when it seemed as if my hymn (included here) seemed to be talking directly to me as I wrote its words. This, to me, is not an unknown experience. I have had it since the first time He ever spoke to me (not audibly but in my spirit). At that time He placed a poem in my mind, and that should have been a sign to me regarding the nature of my primary contribution to the Church; that it would be poetic in nature.
Hear me rightly, though: that is not all that I do. After long years of struggle, my whole life is in the service of the King, and though there is still sin in my flesh there are no compartments in my life. He has saved me, and my life belongs to Him.
For the man of God, no other joy could be had but that which fulfills the life of Christ, for wherever else he may roam, there is grief within his soul, for God is in his soul.
It is God who rules, and not the man. It is God who is the Great I AM. It is God who rests within the heart of him who has seen the Savior’s art. No other thing can then compare or stir within the Spirit’s lair. He cannot conquer any heart if he forsakes the Savior’s art.
Certainly there will be those who, arrogantly, will assert contrarily. When you really think about it, though, their every argument will fall apart for lack of art within their heart.
What difference can a hymn make? A hymn can change a life. Of course, one might ask how this could be done.
Let’s use my own hymn as an example. The previous night to writing it found me in the darkness of despair, and I did cry out.
Though I cannot accurately recall my words, nor could I ever fairly interpret the cries of my spirit unto God, the weeping of my soul was genuine and real, and what followed on in the writing of my hymn the next morning indeed changed my attitude and my outlook and lifted me to His side:
Why such sadness of thee, face,
And why despaired, my soul?
Why so sad upon the dawn
And waking of thy soul?
Why despaired when Jesus reigns
Over every man’s soul?
He has come to seek thy good,
So, praise Him, oh, my soul!
What most struck me about the lines above was the question, “Why so sad upon the dawn and waking of thy soul?” That line, taken by itself, at face value makes no sense at all—if you assume that I was the source. I have been saved many long years, now. But what if He doth speak to me? Think on that.
Can a hymn save a soul? Since a hymn teaches theology and the precepts of the Word of God, I most certainly state, “Yes, it can!” You see, when one embarks on the reading and singing of hymns, one embarks upon the path of God—and God most certainly does save souls. Who are we, then, to say that a hymn cannot be so used?
Can God communicate to you through your own pen? If God can communicate through a donkey1, can He not direct a hand to write? If, then, you recall from the Book of Daniel, the story of Belshazzar and the writing on the wall2, who is to say that He cannot direct your hand as well? Of course He can!
Oh, beloved, listen to the writings of the words! Listen for the voice of the Lord and heed His cry! Some will say He is interested in your holiness, not your happiness. But, listen, it was for the joy lain out before Him that Christ went to the cross3.
Let not your heart despair! He went for joy!