“I know just how much I rely on my faith to guide me through the good times and the bad. Each day is a new beginning. I know the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God….I draw strength from the message of hope in the Christian Gospel.”
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.
(Excerpt of poem by Minnie Louise 1908)
I have much respect for the Late Lady Margaret Thatcher. She was quite the one to deal with naysayers (and journalists for that matter!). I recently read a quote of hers – “you might have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” I’m not sure as to what political context it fitted into – crisis in Europe, or with the Trade Unions on her home turf or the Falkland Islands. Nonetheless the quote definitely has wider application to our daily lives.
While it would be great to nail an issue or win a battle in one go in life it often takes several if not numerous attempts before victory is won. Your mind may be your battlefield – fighting off thoughts of negativity or failure. Maybe it is the insidious nature of fear that seems to clutch at your heart at random and unsolicited times. Perhaps it is thwarting temptation. And let’s face it, the enemy is not one to give up so easily and seeks to ensnare and destroy us. But we have God on our side! God who is always with us and assures us of victory.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
“The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD.” (Proverbs 21:31)
So to quote another admirable English Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, if you find yourself in the middle of a battle, growing weary, “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
The victory belongs to the Lord!
It’s a famous hymn, it’s origins dating back to Ireland some 1500 years ago. Believed to have been written by an Irish poet, St Dalian who had lost his sight and his lost vision inspired the opening line – “Be thou my vision, oh Lord of my heart.”
But does this hymn, this prayer have an application to us today? What does it actually for God to be our eyes?
It simply means that we would see the world as God sees it. That we would take on God’s perspective when we look at our life.
That means taking the facts – that health report, that financial situation, the facts of that relationship and adding God into the equation. It means magnifying God over all our circumstances. It also means looking at others like God would look at them – with love, with compassion and focusing on who they’re called to be not where they are now. It means looking at our life, our world with an eternal perspective.
Rick Joyner once wrote “when we begin with the eyes of our hearts instead of just our natural eyes we not only being to see the things which are eternal but they become more real to us than the things which are temporary.”
The hymn is a prayer––a prayer that Christ will be our vision. That He would also be the wisdom in our lives, our best thought. That His presence would light our days.
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tow’r:
Raise Thou me heav’nward, O Pow’r of my pow’r.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whate’er befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.